So, my good window of lattice, fare thee well;
Thy casement I need not open, for I look through thee.
--All's Well That Ends Well

Nathalie Anderson

She looked me through, one way
to clear the air. Dust
settled itself, clouds
sucked themselves dry, the very sun
ran through me: clear-eyed
and empty-hearted, I could see
how still I shadowed her.

The dragonflies were
keener, scouring holes
in the air, gusty windows
to sail their sticks through--
black and blue, shiny
with effort, riding the rapids
of shivering glass.

Or the spiders, guying blade to blade,
cordonning the lawn: reef knot,
sheep shank, cat's paw. "We'll
overlook it," she said, "this time"--
precisely the instant they
snared the sun, and the meadow vanished
in that fiery mantilla.

She gave me a ring, a little window on the flesh,
framed in verdegris or verditer, latticed
with gold, and when I slipped it on, the skin beneath
gleamed bright as pomegranate, blazed with rubies, rich life
pulsing at the wicket. Off, it was dull,
the finger safe, the casement clear. I saw myself
as she sees me, jewelled in blood, my own blood.

There's a lattice lashes make as dark comes down
and night after night she waits there. "We'll
see it through." she promises, transparent
as words can make her. Oh, I see through it--
the spine of the lie, infinitely articulate;
the sputtering gut; the two-tongued heart--
cave fish, phosphorescent; white clouds in a black sky.

Copyright CrossConnect, Inc. 1996