From My Window

Spring: the first morning when that one true block of sweet, laminar,
complex scent arrives
from somewhere west and I keep coming to lean on the sill, glorying in
the end of the wretched winter.
The scabby-barked sycamores ringing the empty lot across the way are
budded —I hadn't noticed —
and the thick spikes of the unlikely urban crocuses have already broken
the gritty soil.
Up the street, some surveyors with tripods are waving each other left and
right the way they do.
A girl in a gym suit jogged by a while ago, some kids passed, playing
hooky, I imagine,
and now the paraplegic Vietnam vet who lives in a half-converted ware-
house down the block
and the friend who stays with him and seems to help him out come
weaving towards me,
their battered wheelchair lurching uncertainly from one edge of the
sidewalk to the other.
I know where they're going—to the "Legion": once, when I was putting
something out, they stopped,
both drunk that time, too, both reeking—it wasn't ten o'clock—and we
chatted for a bit.
I don't know how they stay alive—on benefits most likely. I wonder if
they're lovers?
They don't look it. Right now, in fact, they look a wreck, careening hap-
hazardly along,
contriving, as they reach beneath me, to dip a wheel from the curb so
that the chair skewers, teeters,
tips, and they both tumble, the one slowly, almost gracefully sliding in
stages from his seat,
his expression hardly marking it, the other staggering over him, spinning
heavily down,
to lie on the asphalt, his mouth working, his feet shoving weakly and
fruitlessly against the curb.
In the storefront office on the corner, Reed and Son, Real Estate, have
come to see the show.
Gazing through the golden letters of their name, they're not, at least,
thank god, laughing.
Now the buddy, grabbing at a hydrant, gets himself erect and stands
there for a moment, panting.
Now he has to lift the other, who lies utterly still, a forearm shielding his
eyes from the sun.
He hauls him partly upright, then hefts him almost all the way into the
chair, but a dangling foot
catches a support-plate, jerking everything around so that he has to put
him down,
set the chair to rights, and hoist him again and as he does he jerks the
grimy jeans right off him.
No drawers, shrunken, blotchy thighs: under the thick, white coils of
belly blubber,
the poor, blunt pud, tiny, terrified, retracted, is almost invisible in the
sparse genital hair,
then his friend pulls his pants up, he slumps wholly back as though he
were, at last, to be let be,
and the friend leans against the cyclone fence, suddenly staring up at me
as though he'd known,
all along, that I was watching and I can't help wondering if he knows that
in the winter, too,
I watched, the night he went out to the lot and walked, paced rather,
almost ran, for how many hours.
It was snowing, the city in that holy silence, the last we have, when the
storm takes hold,
and he was making patterns that I thought at first were circles, then real-
ized made a figure eight,
what must have been to him a perfect symmetry but which, from where
I was, shivered, bent,
and lay on its side: a warped, unclear infinity, slowly, as the snow came
faster, going out.
Over and over again, his head lowered to the task, he slogged the path
he'd blazed,
but the race was lost, his prints were filling faster than he made them
now and I looked away,
up across the skeletal trees to the tall center city buildings, some, though
it was midnight,
with all their offices still gleaming, their scarlet warning beacons signal-
ing erratically
against the thickening flakes, their smoldering auras softening portions of
the dim, milky sky.
In the morning, nothing: every trace of him effaced, all the field pure
its surface glittering, the dawn, glancing from its glaze, oblique, relent-
less, unadorned.


Comment form:

*Max text - 500. Manual moderation.

Similar Poems:

Ken by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
The town is old and very steep
A place of bells and cloisters and grey towers,
And black-clad people walking in their sleep—
A nun, a priest, a woman taking flowers
To her new grave; and watched from end to end
By the great Church above, through the still hours:
But in the morning and the early dark
The children wake to dart from doors and call
Read Poem

Madeleine in Church by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
Here, in the darkness, where this plaster saint
Stands nearer than God stands to our distress,
And one small candle shines, but not so faint
As the far lights of everlastingness,
I’d rather kneel than over there, in open day
Where Christ is hanging, rather pray
To something more like my own clay,
Not too divine;
Read Poem

The Death of the Hired Man by Robert Frost
Robert Frost
Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step,
She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage
To meet him in the doorway with the news
And put him on his guard. ‘Silas is back.’
She pushed him outward with her through the door
And shut it after her. ‘Be kind,’ she said.
She took the market things from Warren’s arms
And set them on the porch, then drew him down
To sit beside her on the wooden steps.

‘When was I ever anything but kind to him?
But I’ll not have the fellow back,’ he said.
‘I told him so last haying, didn’t I?
If he left then, I said, that ended it.
Read Poem

from Each in a Place Apart by James McMichael
James McMichael
I know I’ll lose her.
One of us will decide. Linda will say she can’t
do this anymore or I’ll say I can’t. Confused
only about how long to stay, we’ll meet and close it up.
She won’t let me hold her. I won’t care that my
eyes still work, that I can lift myself past staring.
Nothing from her will reach me after that.
I’ll drive back to them, their low white T-shaped house
Read Poem

Maximus, to Gloucester: Letter 2 by Charles Olson
Charles Olson
. . . . . tell you? ha! who
can tell another how
to manage the swimming?

he was right: people

don’t change. They only stand more
revealed. I,

Read Poem

Ben Jonson Entertains a Man from Stratford by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Edwin Arlington Robinson
You are a friend then, as I make it out,
Of our man Shakespeare, who alone of us
Will put an ass's head in Fairyland
As he would add a shilling to more shillings,
All most harmonious, — and out of his
Miraculous inviolable increase
Fills Ilion, Rome, or any town you like
Of olden time with timeless Englishmen;
And I must wonder what you think of him —
All you down there where your small Avon flows
By Stratford, and where you're an Alderman.
Some, for a guess, would have him riding back
To be a farrier there, or say a dyer;
Or maybe one of your adept surveyors;
Or like enough the wizard of all tanners.
Read Poem

A Death in the Desert by Robert Browning
Robert Browning
[Supposed of Pamphylax the Antiochene:
It is a parchment, of my rolls the fifth,
Hath three skins glued together, is all Greek,
And goeth from Epsilon down to Mu:
Lies second in the surnamed Chosen Chest,
Stained and conserved with juice of terebinth,
Covered with cloth of hair, and lettered Xi,
From Xanthus, my wife's uncle, now at peace:
Mu and Epsilon stand for my own name.
I may not write it, but I make a cross
To show I wait His coming, with the rest,
And leave off here: beginneth Pamphylax.]

I said, "If one should wet his lips with wine,
"And slip the broadest plantain-leaf we find,
Read Poem

from Idylls of the King: The Passing of Arthur by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
That story which the bold Sir Bedivere,
First made and latest left of all the knights,
Told, when the man was no more than a voice
In the white winter of his age, to those
With whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds.

For on their march to westward, Bedivere,
Who slowly paced among the slumbering host,
Heard in his tent the moanings of the King:

"I found Him in the shining of the stars,
I mark'd Him in the flowering of His fields,
But in His ways with men I find Him not.
I waged His wars, and now I pass and die.
O me! for why is all around us here
Read Poem

The Seekonk Woods by Galway Kinnell
Galway Kinnell
When first I walked here I hobbled
along ties set too close together
for a boy to step easily on each.
I thought my stride one day
would reach every other and from then on
I would walk in time with the way
toward that Lobachevskian haze
up ahead where the two rails meet.
Read Poem