It's just poetry, it won't bite

By the Window

02.27.12 Posted in words to linger on by

Matt Pasca makes his home on the south shore of Long Island with his wife Terri and orange-haired sons Rainer and Atticus. A graduate of Cornell University and Stony Brook University, he has taught creative writing, mythology, and literature at Bay Shore High School since 1997. He was named New York State Teacher of Excellence in 2003 and is advisor of The Writers’ Blocknamed Most Outstanding High School Literary Art Magazine for 2010 by the American Scholastic Press Association. Matt’s poetry has appeared at The Long Island Quarterly, The Pedestal Magazine, New Mirage Journal, and JB Stillwater’s online literary journal, and will be featured in Paumanok II, an anthology of work by Long Island writers and photographers. His first book, A Thousand Doors (JB Stillwater 2011) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

By the Window
By Matt Pasca

Did the morning joggers hear
the feeble crack, wet snap of fingers

your spine surging one final
headlit rush–a street clearing of traffic?

Was there dust on the ceiling fan? How small
your bags, unpacked, must have seemed.

Did you hope dad would double back?
Was there sunlight dancing on the Charles?

We used to sit in my dining room–
the SAT our pretense to philosophize.

In my classroom, too–first chair
by the window, nearest the air.

You were one of those moneyed kids who dressed like a bum:
Hanes tee messy hair, shaveless, membranes a bit purple, as if squeezing secrets.

I decipher your handwriting in my mind:
words swatted like flies across the page.

You always cut to the chase, know what things meant.
You favored corners.

Tomorrow, peach blossom wreaths will crowd
the room, your body a slim plastic doll in a suit.

Your mother will say Michael loves your class. He always
talks about your brilliant son–is he 6 now

I’ll say, Mike was a beautiful kid.
Well, she’ll say, he knows. He knows.

I keep staring at the desk where you sat,
below the window, the one with the red and white sticker

that reads “Emergency Escape,” wondering if you knew, then,
not even love could save you.

4 Responses to “By the Window”

  1. Lori says:

    I read this three times. Each time, more meaning seeped through. Poignant and beautiful.

  2. Terri says:

    Powerful. Stunning images. A breath-taking piece

  3. bobbie troy says:

    wonderful, insightful poem. welcome to vox poetica!

  4. Sari says:

    Good poem
    Sad and thoughtful
    Thank you!

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