In the window, hung on fishing line, three prismed crystal globes
catch and refract whatever rays dive down between apartment blocks:
kaleidoscoping stars of rose, blue, saffron light dance crazily
across the walls, the quilts, the shelves of novels bookended
by cast-iron cats, the canopy of her window-sill bonsai forest
rooted in a glen of celadon pots. Each afternoon, she murmurs home
from school four hours before her folks come in, the gold spill
of her hair tangling in backpack straps as she throws the deadbolt,
slips off flowered sneakers, stretches on the bed among stuffed bears
and kittens, humming sotto voce to her room, her world.
How perfectly she tends it! Word by word, she fills the journal tucked
beneath her bed with secrets, longings, lies for her eyes only;
drop by drop she measures rainfall, mists each bonsai leaf, completes
the composition with an inch-high herd of sika deer, so fine their porcelain hooves
almost click among roots, ambling tree to tree, grazing the grass-green moss.
The scene’s as beautiful as it was yesterday, as it will be
tomorrow, every element a thing she treasures. What would I see
outside, eleven stories down? Let’s say it’s autumn. Say the park’s a ruckus
of bare limbs and mud. Say kids are calling, shoving at their games
and winter’s breathing down the necks of muffled people waiting at the bus stop
as day fades into a stormy dusk, wind rising off the Hudson to her windows
like a shake of bones. Alone, inside, she flicks on lights, draws blinds,
bends low to peek beneath the leaves of tiny white oaks, poplars, sugar maples,
green and stunted stars that never bloom and never have to fall.