My mother prefers to look into her house from the outside.
She skimps on curtains, hangs the sheerest cloth, and the neighbors
catch my father ironing in his boxers before dawn as they drive
to towns whose names ease from my mind like clouds.
He flattens the ridges and warms the chilled thread, tender
movements any son or daughter would move toward
by instinct. On the mower my mother hums U2 and nods
with the beating blades, clips patches of sky to cherish
from bed that night. I, more telephone voice than offspring, follow
the man who reads his students’ papers aloud like poetry to believe
in. We press our palms into clotted Florida silt, kick up pallets
of gold-spilled gingko in Indiana. When sleep’s curtain will not fall, I return
to the gauze-wrapped house, walk its overgrown perimeter. Loiter
in the laundry room till the sky lightens for an unreturned glimpse
at my father, partly clothed, minding his own business. Every windowview
a postcard to the absent child, my very own incantation: Come iron, come
grass, come gaze, come look through our windows and speak your voice
against the pane, a brief cloud of certainty to write your name in, your lover’s
name, the future we threaded into your skin, we are sure we can find
if you let us search under the good sunlight by the window.