A wide-open gate
hinges rusted brown with years
Who left it open?
Gates, as a rule, are closed—or in the process of being opened to then be closed, or in the process of being closed—especially those set in fences that stretch across open fields; we don’t want the animals (sheep, cows, lions) escaping now, do we? I can remember catching minor little hells from our farmer-neighbor for leaving a gate or two open—a habit I soon grew out of as a result of the brimstone. Always close gates behind you, it became first the mantra then the law.
And has no one noticed this open gate before now? I try to shut it, but the hinges are more rust than iron and will not yield even a fraction.
Several scenarios scuffle for recognition, me, me, me: some running children, laughing, chasing, flinging the gate open, rushing through, intent on where they are going not where they have been. But wouldn’t someone have noticed this gate left open and closed it?
Some animals are very smart; perhaps some Nobel-prize-caliber donkey figured out how to open the gate and so made his escape, never to be seen or heard from again. Still, why did no one notice?
Or, someone did close the gate, but carelessly. The wind, or some other donkey, did the rest. Still, why did no one notice?
Or, or, or.
And wide open. That’s not the wind’s, or chance’s doing. It stands so deliberately open, cannot stand more open. It’s an intentional act, then. A long, long ago intentional act. Perhaps the final act of the farmer closing things down and heading for the city—too far in debt to rely on his not at all profitable farm to dig him out; a pity, it’s been in the family so long. So, to hell with it then, I’ll do exactly what I’ve never done before, leave the gate wide open. Goodbye three hundred sixty-five (some years sixty-six) pre-dawn mornings a year, goodbye a worry about the weather so constant it felt like an ulcer. Goodbye and good riddance.
Or it is a magical gate who know how to open and close itself that one day, just after opening wide plumb forgot how to close.
Or, or, or.