The Window

by Matthew Valades

Outside, an eager breeze
shakes the tree branches
to pieces. This window is
a way to count the colors
of passing moments like cars
filled with people I don’t know
and may never sit with
around their kitchen table
while dinner steams before us.
Those cars must be going
somewhere important fast
or somewhere they’d rather not
but go anyway, whale
watching maybe, where a girl
has asked to go for months—
her shirts, drawings, and books
covered in pods of the beasts—
a girl who for days has hardly
slept knowing that this morning
she’ll see the giant whales.
May she ride one of them off
into the blue forever.
May the branches play in the breeze
outside the window forever.
Past them, a woman smokes
as her setter rolls in the grass
on the end of a leash. The woman
seems not to care or to think
this day just like the last
will bring anything beside
the crackling little glow
as she inhales and holds
her breath as long as she can.

Matthew Valades has poems in Subtropics, New Ohio Review, The Moth, Carolina Quarterly, and others. A graduate of the MFA Writing program at UNC-Greensboro, he currently works at the MIT Press and lives in Washington, DC.