This is a nightmare you now have frequently:
that a man will come to your house at evening
with a hole in him — you place it
in the chest, on the left side— and blood leaking out
onto the wooden door as he leans against it.
He is a man in the act of vanishing
one way or another.
He wants you to let him in.
He is like the soul of a dead
lover, come back to the surface of the Earth
because he did not have enough of it and is still hungry
but he is far from dead. Though the hair
lifts on your arms and cold
air flows over your threshold
from him, you have never
seen anyone so alive
as he touches, just touches your hand
with his left hand, the clean
one, and whispers Please
in any language.
You are not a doctor or anything like it.
You have led a plain life
which anyone looking would call blameless.
On the table behind you
there are bread on a plate, fruit in a bowl.
There is one knife. There is one chair.
It is spring, and the night wind
is moist with the smell of turned loam
and the early flowers;
the moon pours out it’s beauty
which you see as beauty finally,
warm and offering everything.
You have only to take.
In the distance you hear dogs barking.
Your door is either half open
or half closed.
It stays that way and you cannot wake.
Margaret Atwood (No Name)