Tony Gloeggler

Link to home pageLink to current issueLink to back issuesLink to information about the magazineLink to submission guidelinesSend email to


When I Walk Through the Door

If I line up words Painting of pencils by Gene McCormick
with one or two syllables
and hard consonants
until they become
a boy chasing a ball,
a car driving too fast,
you can nearly hear
the sound a father hears
that makes him turn
his head so he can see
his son’s body twist
across the road, thud
against the curb. If you like,
you could be the father,
watch the car slow down,
the driver look back, see
the red tip of a cigarette
dot the twilight before
the driver turns back
around and keeps going.
You could be a neighbor
opening a door, standing
on front steps as lights
throb against brick houses
and cops ask questions. Or maybe
you could be the man’s wife,
Laura, who moans the boy’s name
and won’t let anyone touch her.
She wants to know why
her husband couldn’t keep
their child safe. He wishes
he could tell her about the girl
next door, sixteen years old,
with her cut off tee shirt,
belly button ring and how
good she looked walking
across the just watered lawn
the moment the car hit
their son. He wants to believe
that saying those words
out loud, telling the truth
now will make him
someday feel better. Me?
I could be the driver, turning
slowly down my block,
pulling into the garage.
I will sit in the car
with the motor running,
playing with the lighter
until I can remember
the kinds of things
I’m supposed to say
to my wife, my daughter
when I walk through the door.



Days like this I wish
I was six years old
and autistic, like Jesse,
the way he opens the door
and grabs my hand,
leads me to his room
on my weekly visits.
His mother stands by
a window, her arms
crossed loosely against
her chest, thinking
I guess. He stands on
this special, worn out circle
of rug, says, “One, two, three.
Up, Tony” and I lift him,
throw him high as I can.
He lands on the bed
laughing, and I pounce
on top of him, lie there
until he wraps his arms
around my neck and I ask,
no beg, for just one squeeze,
and he pulls me tighter,
hugs me for less than
an instant. We do this
over and over, both of us
running out of breath, seven,
ten minutes, until he says,
“See you later,” walks me
down the hall to the room
where I used to sleep.

Tony Gloeggler is a native of NYC and currently manages a group home for developmentally disabled men in Brooklyn. His work has been in numerous journals and anthologies. One Wish Left, his first full length collection that went into a second edition, was initially published by Pavement Saw Press in 2000. Tony Gloeggler’s Greatest Hits came out on Pudding House Publications in 2009 and in 2010 The Last Lie was published by NYQ Books.