Between winter’s shut window
and sheets of plastic insulation
the husks of summer flies
their battering the screen
A preternaturally large
crane fly straddles the screen
sealed in death.
As we sleep kerosene’s blue element
burns captive in our midst.
When I came to you
in love with love
there was no window
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
I have sun in see-through woods.
I have sheets of August rain
when fury rakes
white across the sky.
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.
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
see the best in you.
You say, One day I will tell you why.
You say I do nothing right.
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.
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.