WINDOWS AND DOORS
Her house was another world:
in the middle of our town
on the way to the library—
the low porch, the ramshackle brick-sided
abode, reeking smoked food from its chimney.
They lived on the porch I thought—
ate in the weedy brown yard,
hung up white sheets to dry on the line
from tree to tree. We
hid our wash out back,
sat sometimes on our rockers
watching the street, but never
showed our lives to the neighbors
never let them know our smells,
our heat, our hunger.
the year I knew that
the windshields of all new cars
became one wide glass, so the driver
would not miss whatever hid
behind the steel rod at midpoint.
It meant for me that nothing
would ever be the same
no matter how much greater my vision.
I don’t recall fearing the move.
The home in which I grew
was suddenly inappropriate—
—the changing neighborhood, outgrown
friends. Proof: When did I return
to that tiny green house, the front porch
with its heavy dark door, the garden
I myself cultivated? Once, perhaps,
I went by, looked askance at the old garage,
open to the street, saw
the window of my room
covered with wisteria,
She sits on the verandah
strapped in her chair,
humming to herself, sometimes
recognizing an event that goes on
in the world outside. A car pulls up,
some children get out, race
to the revolving doors
and disappear into
the dispassionate building.
“I knew you!” I say, having passed her by
and returned. You were my neighbor
on Holtzer Street, the house with red-brick siding!
We lived on the corner, with the rose garden.
I had a black-and-white cat. I was a child.
I used to use the knocker at your front door
when I could barely reach it. Remember me!”
a glimmer like a lantern passing
by a window in the house across the street
—the one that has been vacant for years—
haunted, they say.