Featured Writer Lorna Crozier


1.Two things that need each other: the mouth and the ear, the left foot and the right, the wind and the listing hawk, the doorknob and the hand. Yet doorknobs dread the human touch. They have a phobia about germs, especially the knobs made of glass common in the 1940s, after the war, a sign of class in small stuccoed houses with big radios and ottomans of fake leather. To respect their fears, you’d have to wear a glove or, with a chamois, rub away the invisible bacilli you leave behind. Who has time for that?  Anyway, you’d be pushed aside by people in a rush. You’d be mocked and laughed at. Best not to dwell on it. There are whales, after all, and disappearing salmon.  Disappearing doorknobs?  That’s a laugh. Like rats, they’ve adapted. In fact, their population’s gone berserk. Count the new skyscrapers, the condo developments eating up the fields and marshes at the edges of cities. Tally up the multitude of doors. Measure, if you can, the dread each building holds.

2. All doorknobs are twins, joined at the centre by a bolt narrow as a pencil, inflexible, un-vertebraed.  Though they move as one, they never get to see each other. They are like siblings separated at birth by war, by a wall of stone and razor wire.  Neither speaks of this. One turns; the other turns. One is outside the room; the other, in. If the door is the entrance to a house, one shimmers with rain; the other is dull and dry. One is often cold or hot; the other basks in the temperate climate of the thermostat. Does anything pass between them? Does a rumour, a memory, a snatch of song run through the metal spine like an electric shock when the door is opened?   Perhaps they desire different things and loathe each other. Each knob wanting, above all else, not to turn in the same direction as its double on the opposite side of the door.


About the writer:
An Officer of the Order of Canada, Lorna Crozier has been acknowledged for her contributions to Canadian literature, her teaching and her mentoring with five honourary doctorates, most recently from McGill and Simon Fraser Universities. Her books have received numerous national awards, including the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry. The Globe and Mail declared The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things one of its Top 100 Books of the Year, and Amazon chose her memoir as one of the 100 books you should read in your lifetime. A Professor Emerita at the University of Victoria, she has performed for Queen Elizabeth II and has read her poetry, which has been translated into several languages, on every continent except Antarctica. Her latest books are The Wrong Cat and The Wild in You, a collaboration with photographer Ian McAllister. She lives on Vancouver Island with writer Patrick Lane and two cats who love to garden.

Image: “Untitled” by Nathalie von Arx. Zurich, Switzerland. Fine art photograph. No technical information specified. No completion date specified. By permission.