The Upstairs Window

I am the dim light
in the upstairs room
behind the curtain.

I am not the shadow
passed before it,
nor the shade
that funnels it down.

No — I am the lure
that tempts a haunting.

I am the quarter
you hid in your shoe,
the dollar you stole
from her purse.

I am lie and small
betrayal. I am
the day she walked
away from you,

the call you never made.

I am not the dog nor the hand,
but the impulse — the slap,
the sting, the welp.

I am the tree, felled
for a view. I am the mountain
skinned for gravel,

elephant for tusk,
fin for soup.
I am the drowning.

I am the drowning,
and the flower
you plucked from a bush —
for blush and little else.

I am the upstairs window,
and the whimper never hushed.

Image: Wolf Zimmermann on Unsplash

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