Small Windows


From her home,
and through the window,
over grim dishwater
in a cold kitchen sink,
she can see
straight to the old work,
with her wee boy
below, knee-high,
gripping her skirts,
straining to reach,
and her hand
pushing him blindly down.

Her eyes begin waiting,
again,
a long second or two,

until,
in a small window there,
a far-off figure
shapes the letters
of a name
with a finger
on the dirty sweat
of an industrial pane.

The boy works it out:
he’s Russian –
I-L-Y-A.

He’s in a rush
to finish,
and signs
the first three letters
only.

The boy settles to his heels,
sees his mother look
happy or sad,
and wonders
what he cannot
grasp.

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6 thoughts on “Small Windows

  1. This is stunning. I felt the boy’s and the woman’s intense attachment to what that man wrote, her’s from passion, the boy’s from need and curiosity. Gorgeous poetry – so good to read your work again!!

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