The Woman in the Stained Glass House
About ten years ago, I wrote a poem about the stained glass
window in the stairwell of the apartment building where I once
lived with my ex-husband. I used to stare at that window a lot.
It was right in front of me when I sat on the steps to lace up
my work shoes before going to the restaurant, and I would
carry the quiet scene of a little house amid green hills
with me through my shift. There was a small crack to the side
of the house, though, round like a stone or a bullet, and maybe
it was that intimation of ruin that made me imagine
an unquiet life for the inhabitants of that glass house.
Or maybe it was something else. In that first poem, the couple
in the house are unhappy though nothing seems actually wrong.
They eat dinner. The woman keeps birds. Now I want to tell
the story differently. The woman lives in her glass house alone
and is happy. She can see the lake from her window, the row
of trees near the round hole, and she has let all of her canaries
out of their cage. The entire small house is filled with the music
of glass wings. The man is gone. It doesn’t matter where.
Editor’s Note: Poems about poems don’t necessarily end well, yet this one quickly progresses past that initial trope and plunges the reader into a rich allegory of imagery and thought.