One Poem

Barbara Berg


It is safer to close the box before striking a match on the box, although the match can be struck on the box if it is open, the box, that is. In a fight, one must close the fingers into a fist before striking another to be more effective, to cause pain, if that is the intent of a fight, which it usually is, or even to break something, a nose perhaps. In love, closing the heart before striking out into love helps protect the heart, but leaves the love something to be desired. A closed box usually indicates something hidden, so if one closes it before striking, one may not know what one is striking. Pandora's Box was closed before anyone even thought of striking a match. But some say it wasn't a box anyway. A fire is the thing lit but avoided by closing the box if following the directions. The choice: a match lighting the pilot light versus fire burning the hands or whatever is near the blaze, a face perhaps, which would be very unfortunate. Closing the box, then, would seem desirable. It would also be good to keep Prometheus from stealing the fire and then save Pandora from being punished as well. Close the door before striking up a conversation when it is private and not to be shared. If the door were open, all sorts of matchless people would be listening in, as their non-match people would not be around to distract them, obviously, since they are not matched. Perhaps if Brutus had closed the box before striking a dagger into Caesar, we would not even be here at all. Other matched and matchless people would be. One could close their eyes to the sorrow of the world before being struck by a happy thought. It is almost necessary. To be struck down by a bad heart, one would have to have closed arteries. Or have a heart virus, or a heart bigger than one's fist. Hence, the aforementioned closed heart, but in another form. God could close his eyes before striking one dead, if God listened to someone smiting another, and if God chose to close his eyes, which most people, matchless and otherwise, think God does not do. If Pandora kept the box (or jar, really) closed, one could never be struck by hope. Is it possible to strike up a conversation before closing the box? Hope could lead one to believe this is so.

Barbara Berg

Barbara Berg is currently an M.F.A. in Creative Writing student at Antioch University, Los Angeles. In 1994, she won first prize in fiction in the Spring Arts Festival at Northern Virginia Community College for her short story, "Waiting for Forgiveness." She fell in love with poetry before, during, and after receiving her B.A. in English Language and Literature in 1997 from the University of Virginia.