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N O V E M B E R   1 9 9 4

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WINDOWS

by Linda Bierds


Hear Linda Bierds read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

(For help, see a note about the audio.)

Also by Linda Bierds:
The Weathervanes (1996)
For the Sake of Retrieval (1989)

Go to:
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When the cow died by the green sapling,
her limp udder splayed on the grass
like something from the sea, we offered
our words in their low calibrations --
which was our fashion -- then severed
her horns with a pug-toothed blade
and pounded them out to an amber
transparency, two sheets that became,
in their moth-wing haze, our parlor windows.
They softened our guests with the gauze-light
of the Scriptures, and rendered to us,
on our merriest days, the sensation
of gazing through the feet of a gander.
In time we moved up to the status
of glass -- one pane, then two -- each
cupping in proof of its purity
a dimple of fault, a form of distortion
enhancing our image. We took the panes
with us from cottage to cottage,
moth-horn and glass, and wedged up
the misfitted gaps with a poultice
of gunny and wax. When woodsmoke
darkened our bricks, we gave
to the windowsills a lacquer
of color -- clear blue with a lattice
of yellow: a primary entrance and exit
for light. And often, walking home
from the river and small cheese shop,
we would squint their colors to a sapling
green, and remember the hull
of that early body, the slap of fear
we suffered there, then the little wash
of recovery that is our fashion -- how
we stroked to her bones a cadenced droning,
and took back from her absence our
amber, half-literal method of sight.



Copyright © 1994 by Linda Bierds. All rights reserved.
Originally published in
The Atlantic Monthly, November 1994.

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