That Monday in Algiers
The door would not unlock.
No key in my pocket. No cell phone
so many years ago to call my white knight
I knocked ~ timid, tentative, as if the knock
spoke another unlearned language, not even
my resurrected Français ~ on the silent door next
Pantomine & speaking hands, fingers turning
imaginary keys in invisible locks. My neighbor
nodded, swung the wood and iron door open
She led me through the two small rooms
to a balcony, once more miming: climb over
she showed me, my nextdoor balcony open.
A small crowd of ragged boys my audience
I swung one leg over wrought iron filigree
another to where I belonged. Inside.
Safe within, I thought of doors & locks & keys.
Of language. Of how so little but so much separates us
wondering still how to unlock these heavy doors