Poems by Joy Ladin

A Story of Windows


Once there were windows in search of a house.
The windows slid silently
through the air at noon
like a tribe of unreturned stares.

There was a building whose windows were broken,
whose front door flapped
like a jaw on broken hinges:
Over here. Over here.

The windows couldn’t hear.
They were more like eyes than ears,
grains of sand
fused and clarified by furnace-blasts.

Still, they settled into frames
that weren’t made for them.
Hid behind shades. Specked and cracked. Longed
to forget what they were made to be

and slice the air again.



In This Dream, We Can See Each Other’s Dreams


In this dream, I am never tired.
We bicycle uphill for hours toward a lighthouse
that keeps sliding backward, trying not to fall into the sea.

In this dream, your childhood
is there in your cupboard,
right behind the spices.

In this dream, we stroll arm in arm
through museums of beautifully terrifying things.
Shelves of books whisper as they write us.

In this dream, we have never met. We miss each other by seconds
in subways and movie theaters, a ballet of miraculous, life-changing chances
we don’t realize we will never have.

In this dream, you ride a roller coaster threaded through a city.
I wait for you at the exit.
I’m the one who’s screaming.

In this dream, we stay up late watching bald men love and lie.
Our shoulders touch. Our thighs. In this dream,
potato chips aren’t fattening. That’s how we know we’re dreaming.

In this dream, we are the wine we’re drinking.
We pool in a pair of goblets, delighting in our excellent vintage,
our nose of coriander, our witty, ecstatic finish.

In this dream, trees bud as we scuff through falling leaves.
Your arm slides around my waist.
The world turns warm and green.



Joy Ladin is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Impersonation, forthcoming in 2015. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Southern Review, and others, and has been recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship. She holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University, and has taught in the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College, as well as at Princeton University, Reed College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.



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