Here is the shade’s drawstring. Take
hold the little cloth-covered ring
at the end, tug, release, and it goes
up with a sound of remote thunder,
wound on its spring-loaded dowel.
Here is the many-paned tall window
where you first found time
to see what the light can do
to untie the mind. Here is the wind,
or its quiet aside to you
where the window’s been lifted. Here
you are lifted outside the guidelines.
Here, too, comes the kid
with blood on his lip. You can see
what you did. And the woman
who bore you, you unglued her, didn’t you?
And the man who drove—you do hear
his whistle over the radio,
all the while he’s taking you
to the doctor, and back again
home, the house once more
around you, smell of the underground
river through the linoleum floor
in the downstairs party room soon
as you remember. Here
in its yellow kitchen, your first
bitter sip of Miller beer.
And the one pane your fist went through
that moment before the thousandth
tangle behind you, sudden cool air
on your skin, in through that new star’s blue
light, and it soothes your lungs,
and is scented with a hint of the purple
lilacs just opening in
the yard, under the spring sun.
Here you are young, unprepared
as ever, the war in your heart
undeclared. Sure, you are years from here,
you’ve offered the earth your own child,
and still, the old shade rattles
between your ears like a battle
inside the clouds. And the sky pours
down, fixing you through the eyes,
here where your soul tries to hold
its breath, a moment before the flood.
Jed Myers lives in Seattle. Two of his poetry collections, The Nameless (Finishing Line Press) and Watching the Perseids (winner of the 2013 Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), are 2014 publications. His work has received Southern Indiana Review’s Editors’ Award, the Literal Latte Poetry Award, Blue Lyra Review’s Longish Poem Award, a Pushcart nomination, and, in the UK, a Forward Prize nomination. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, I-70 Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere.