Chloe Martinez’s “The open door”

By Chloe MartinezMay 28, 2024

Chloe Martinez’s “The open door”
This is a preview of the LARB Quarterly, no. 41: TruthBecome a member to get this issue plus the next four issues of the LARB Quarterly.

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The open door

I’ve been looking for ways to make it
my fault. Parked too far from the curb.

Picked the wrong parking spot. Wrong time,
or day. Left the car door open too wide,

on a too-narrow street. Should have brought
more flavors of ice cream for the kids’

playdate, and should have been waiting
more patiently for danger, always. Truth is,

I felt fine. Parked well. Two flavors was plenty:
even one would be ice cream, would be happiness.

The street was spacious, the door open
a normal amount. A bright Saturday,

and in the park nearby, a game
of pickleball. Truth is, I should be furious

at the driver, who police later confirmed
was drunk, but she missed me, she missed

my children, and though she ripped
through the edge of the open car door

right behind my soft back as I bent over Saafia’s
car seat, unbuckling those tricky buckles,

the door bending back like a branch as she passed,
and though she wavered slowly down the street

as I screamed, then with a deliberation
that must have been panic but looked,

from where I stood, almost thoughtful, turned
the corner and kept going, she did not

so much as scratch us. Amina says she saw,
from the sidewalk, the driver’s effort, swerving

hard to avoid my body, and what depths that woman
was swimming in then and probably now

I don’t know, but didn’t she swim up
for a split second and didn’t she

save me, a perfect stranger, and isn’t that
a kind of miracle, really, a kind of victory?

LARB Contributor

Chloe Martinez is a poet and a scholar of South Asian religions. The author of the collection Ten Thousand Selves (2021) and the chapbook Corner Shrine (2020), she has work in Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, AGNI, and elsewhere.

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