I.
Between winter’s shut window
and sheets of plastic insulation
    the husks of summer flies
        glint neon
    their battering the screen
        a memory.        
        
    A preternaturally large
     crane fly straddles the screen
        sealed in death.

As we sleep kerosene’s blue element
    burns captive in our midst.

II.
When I came to you
    in love
    in love with love
there was no window
        only
    blind walls of adamant
    oak aged to coffee brown.

I wanted smells
    May’s perennial of perennials
        the fat-headed peonies
    July’s hot earth
    autumn’s ferment of fallen apples.

My friend opened your wall.
The wood scorched his circular blade.

I have my window scents
        and
I have sun in see-through woods.
    
I have sheets of August rain
    when fury rakes
        white across the sky.

III. 
You tape us closed in autumn.
I am sealed one among our mingled things

    my teacher pantsuits and skirts
    your jeans and your coat         
        sheepskin embroidered with sweet mildew
    your boot with its tongue askew
    your nub of chewing gum on the windowsill.

You say the plastic will keep out the cold. 

IV.
You say, The plastic will always.
You say, You will never.
Inside the low coal cramp of you
    eating the wounded fruit of you
        I know I     
            alone
                    see the best in you.

You say, One day I will tell you why.
You say I do nothing right.

V.
I am afraid of you. I want you.
I live in your walls. I am your captive heat. 

Your wall has been cut.
You are not true.

 

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Faith S. Holsaert has published fiction in journals since the 1980s and has begun to also publish poetry. She co-edited Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (University of Illinois). She received her mfa from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. After many years in West Virginia, she lives in Durham, NC with her partner Vicki Smith, with whom she shares ten grandchildren.