According to the laws of Feng Shui,
a bed positioned to face the door
is most inauspicious, being the same direction
one is placed upon dying–feet pointed at the exit
to ease the deceased on their journey.
For years I refrained from folding my hands
across my chest as I drifted off to sleep,
wary of that ride down the river,
Ophelia feet first, flowers caught in her hair.
Why invite trouble? I thought,
like an old Jewish woman who spits at demons
and calls her grandchildren ugly
lest the greedy spirit world
be tempted to take them away.
Her knuckles are raw from knocking on wood.
Hills of salt rise behind her.
These days I allow myself the pose
of eternal rest. But it takes practice
to ignore the iron stand hung with heavy coats
that waits like a stranger dressed in black
just outside my door.
—from Rattle #22, Winter 2004