top of page

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.

bottom of page