I hope this one is self-explanatory. There's nothing metaphorical about it: it's straightforward reporting of an incident in December 1993. In the Haddon Library, where I work, a staircase door was found unexpectedly open. The door had been understood to be locked and its key lost. Finding it open meant checking its security risks and safety possibilities.
The poem was published in Cous-cous 9, 1995, p. 6.
I was reminded of my own poem by tonight's snow -- less my own observations of same than pictures such as this from Cambridge incognito photographer Sir Cam.
CHECKING A POSSIBLE EMERGENCY EXIT
The staircase didn't lead to Uncle Andrew,
mad in his study, with the magic rings,
nor to a wood, all winter, Lantern Waste,
nor upwards through four hours' climb to the cellar,
nor to the same floor, fifty years ago,
but through a cupboard -- lurch to sudden birth --
large, unexpected -- standing in a lab.
A woodcut's demons!