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Window: Thing As Participle


ISSUE:  Winter 1992

Welling and flowing and fastening
faster than usual, it
became the fever: faces waved
and surfed across its surface. . . .

People passing on the sidewalk, maybe,
(that’s what something stabilizing in her
told her); people walking on the side-pass, yes,
their legs and feet unseen but nonetheless
taking requisite and separate steps upon
real ground, not

being carried off on mysteries
of moving belt or Sea
of Galilee. . . . Her eyes were dripping. Sneezes rose
from somewhere to attack
even the most enormous buildings, all of which
were seized and rattled, time and again:
schools and churches, massive
stoneworks, city hall—whatever stood was wracked
with seismic uprisings, events in chains. . . .
Did no one notice? They were all at risk:
whatever the window held could tremble. There she sat

in the eye of the storm, with steam
from a coffee cup to drape
or dream a self away; meanwhile
the window went on sending one
unwinding brook of bundled faces by,
a difficult unraveling
of differences, higher and lower,
lighter and darker, framed
in fur or flesh, with shocks
of blown blond or of blasted black,
auras of freeze-burn, sun-chill,
each variant a being with a hunch
of forehead over only
two hot coals—if all

of humankind was understandable as this
long EKG of coursing by, it was at least at each
new moment modeled
into spikes of singlemindedness. . . . Each bobbing of
discreteness in the flow, each block or chunk,
each head, she knew (she knew) had its
own endlessness, its moving window of reflective flux
and, underlying, something in a fix: one glimpse

of someone under the blue
or brown robe, fringe
of lash, one body
shimmeringly still, because forever
plunged into the nominative. . . .

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