The Portal

Alex C. Eisenberg


A time will come when everything you held

with tender reverence or wild love

will turn on you—grow great gnashing teeth

and attack your bleeding broken heart.

You will want to fly away with every fiber

or dig in your heals and fight

with all sleight, cleverness and might,

as you have each time before.


Stop a moment though and look around.

Nearby there will be an opening.

It won’t look like the easy exit you had hoped for.

In fact it will be in the exact shape

of what you feared the most.

But a voice from within it will speak to you

whispering sweet darkness against your ear.


This is your invitation to enter;

to neither battle, nor flee, but to face.

And I’ll tell you now:

whether you enter this portal or no
the hungry mouths will follow you

snapping their invisible jaws against your back

shredding the shield of skin you’ve hidden in.


But it is only inside—in choosing

the pitch and aloneness of this abyss—

that you can finally learn

how to feed these enraged and insatiable beasts

who crave nothing less than your complete surrender

into the cavern of your greatest wound

instead of running away again

instead of being consumed.




Alex C. Eisenberg (she/her) is a child of the Pacific Northwest. Her writing is rooted in these wonderful landscapes and attempts to honor and reflect them. Her first chapbook “Holy Ground”, a tribute to the sacred lands of Snoqualmie Valley, won the Black Dog Arts Coalition Prize. Alex currently lives with her partner, their 5 cats, and an ever-changing number of chickens in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains. To read more of her work, go to