Saturday, January 22, 2011

every window a wall, every wall a window

norman clark from an upstairs window

i am
sent outside
to play

on this dove grey sunday morning
even the sun is cold

behind me my mother
watches from the upstairs window
her sight of me
framed by
cream and butter yellow curtains
filmed with coal soot
and soft with dust


i like to let my sight of the world
be framed
by the garden walls

each moss-coated brick
has stories
of migrations
fairy tales

but even the walls are silent

like me
in the hollowness
of this day


the ground is frost hardened
and tumbling with hummocky grass

if he were still here
it would have flattened
under the weight
of his lawn roller
each blade
would have known the sharp snick of his shears


the sudden flapping of wings
draws my eyes skyward
where tendril branches
grope across the grey expanse
each in search of its opposite

the wind is the music for a sort of dance
and i find my own arms and legs
waving and flailing
self-conscious i stop
and slowing my breathing
pat the dog's head

he looks at me
with orange-brown eyes
as if seeking something

i think that if he could speak
he'd explain so much of all of this


the cold finds its way past my clothes
so i turn and open the door to the shed

the darkness is comforting
a single window leaks light
onto workbenches
furred with shavings

the sweet smells of cedar
and machine oiled metal
weave in orange and blue threads

i sit on the floor
and think of my father
and my grandfather

they worked here

they both dreamed of the inexplicable immensity
of this place

this world of worlds
within and without

bisected by the single thin thread of work

sitting on the floor
of the wooden shed
i sit still and listen
to the sounds
rising from other gardens