The Window

after Marie Howe

Once in a lifetime, you will gesture
at an open window, tell the one who
detests the queerness in you that dead
daughters do not disappoint, free your
sore knees from inching towards a kind
of reprieve, declare yourself genderless
as hawk or sparrow: an encumbered body
let loose from its cage. You will refuse your
mother’s rage, her spit, her tongue heavy
like the heaviest of stones. Your mother’s
anger is like the sun, which is like love,
which is the easiest thing — even on the
hardest of days. You will linger, knowing
that this standing before an open window
is what the living do, that they sometimes
reconsider at the slightest touch of grace.

From The 2017 National Poetry Competition. Reproduced with kind permission of The Poetry Society.

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