Windows

1. Windows Are Not Doors

What passes each way through them
(light, longing) is part of the job

They don't
have to budge an inch

2. Their Frames Are Like Ours

Shows of strength: top surface
of lintel and sill and the edge of a wall

Its 2x4 end-frame sticking out (just a little)
all of it

Joined by putty. disguised
by paint in a gesture of grace:

That essential
that necessary skin—will this

Little one nursing at my breast ever
have any idea of what lies underneath?

3. Shocks of Moving the House

Paint on the outside trim
cracking like years of assumptions

Layer on layer: all those versions of
what we thought were our strengths.

4. Intimate as Repair

Each frame I've come to know by touch

Top layer of paint the easiest off with light
hand-sanding, a brush

The next with putty knife, chisel
Craftsman Dual Orbital Sander, a circular

Carbide disk, my own skin

Sticking out
between sleeve ends and gloves —

Bandana and goggles and nose mask a powdery
white lead poison I hope I didn't breathe in —

Itching

5. Windows Like Friends

We think we see through them
much better than they see through themselves

Each thinking his
hers is the only real view of the world

6. Obliging as Mirrors

Telling us only
what we want to hear

The rest: shadowed
outlines of shrubs, dark sky, neighbors

Out there somewhere.

7. Like Neighbors

Who might have something
in common, in the same room

Unable to turn around even part way.

 



Ingrid Wendt

Ingrid Wendt (Eugene, Oregon) and her late husband, poet and writer Ralph Salisbury, once bought an old house for $20 from MacDonald’s, moved it halfway across town, and worked on it for many years. Meanwhile, Moving the House was selected by William Stafford for BOA Editions’ New Poets of America Series. Four subsequent books have received the Oregon Book Award, the Yellowglen Award, and the Editions Prize. Co-editor of the anthology In Her Own Image: Women Working in the Arts (Feminist Press) and of the Oregon Poetry Anthology, From Here We Speak (OSU Press), her passion for snorkeling has taken her around the tip of the Sinai Peninsula and to many beaches in the Caribbean. Recent poems appear in Maintenant, Cirque, CALYX, About Place, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Ascent. http://www.ingridwendt.com