Climbing Out a Window in the Middle of the Night
by Pat Daneman
She goes up to bed wearing mascara.
Her mother yells wash your face.
She’s not a bad girl—she’s in love—
the kind that burns like trash fires
in all the back alleys of a body.
Her boy has the blondest long hair,
the most fragrant leather jacket.
He waits for her under the oak tree.
At the all-night gas station.
That dark stir at the corner—
that’s him, sweet intelligent cloud
of his breathing rising. Her father
falls asleep in a chair. He thinks she’s still
his girl in pink tights who plays piccolo in band
and reads fairy tales. He loves her
with the kind of love that won’t go away,
like waves that soak into the shore,
leaving the sand flat and damp.
By the time he goes upstairs and gets into bed
with his wife, who, indeed, years ago,
would have climbed out a window for him,
his girl and her boy are alone in the park,
walking too close to hold hands.
When they stop to kiss, they seal
their bodies together. Winter is coming,
but the cold won’t keep her inside—
she’s in love with a window, a branch,
the reaching, the climbing, the fall.