Since You Asked Me

“If he knocks at your thin door, let him in”
Adam Zagajewski

If he knocks at your door
let him in
the man who teaches
young soldiers how to survive
in Iraq, in Syria,
all those bloody places
where helicopters and hope
are shot out of the sky.

If he knocks at your door
let him in
the man of ex-wives and ex-addresses
the man who is always packed
who travels light.
He’s the man the general calls
when our side is losing.

He’s the man without a uniform
who like a man in uniform
saves and rereads your letters
unfolding them in airports, taxis, silent rooms
when he is between assignments, time zones, continents.
He’s the man who remembers you
lush in your plush bed.

If he knocks on your door
let him in
the man you cannot count on
cannot even locate in space
who drops
like a paratrooper into your life
hurt in some way you can’t find.

If he knocks on your door
he’s a refugee
from the world and our wars.
Take him in.


Rachel Michaud is a prize-winning poet and essayist. Her essays have been published in The Washington Post and the Hartford Courant, and heard on WAMC-Northeast Public Radio. Her poems have appeared in several literary journals. Rachel made her living as a literacy teacher, and later as a researcher and writer for non-profit organizations. She divides her time between Washington, DC, and Cambridge, NY. Michaud writes, “I am the wife and mother of physicians who treated wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital. They brought the cost of war home with their discussions of cases and the blood stains on their white lab coats. Still, when my girlfriend asked, ‘Should I keep seeing this fellow?’, my answer surprised me.”

Issue number: 
2.1

Abby Murray