Lorna Knowles Blake

High Windows

The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

--Philip Larkin

His left hand bolted to the narrow frame,
     his feet in dancer's second on a ledge
     precariously balanced at the edge
of atmosphere and masonry--no game,

     but he's been tempting fate behind a scrim
of screen and soot, insouciant as he draws
his sponge across the pane without a pause.
     This crisp, blue fear is oxygen to him;

he's hanging there, inhaling razored air,
     hitching his leather strap to rusty hooks,
     rocking in ever higher cradles. Books
never appealed except to serve as stairs

     to windowsills, which even as a child he'd climb
and balance on, leaning outward calling,
"Watch me fly!" then quickly falling inward.
     Up here, he turns dark rectangles of grime

into skies of dripping clouds, while below
     toy cars and buses navigate the town,
     and swaying in his harness he looks down
to orient himself because he knows

it's looking up that causes vertigo.

Willing Suspension of Disbelief

He promised her it wasn't just a fling.
He wasn't the type (he said) to run around;
She noticed he still wears a wedding ring,

Though he claims it's absolutely nothing.
A golden piece of jewelry, smooth and round,
He promised. Maybe it isn't just a fling,

But at thirty-one she knows a rueful thing
Or two, she's spent time at the lost and found.
She can't help noticing that wedding ring,

Engraved inside--initials, dates--the dings
And dents of another life circling around;
But he keeps promising it isn't just a fling,

She wonders idly, as the tenor sings
And the soprano coughs her last, lovely sounds,
If Rodolfo would have worn a wedding ring…

He loves her madly (when she doesn't cling)
And soon, he swears, he will be free. Unbound!
He promises it isn't just a fling,
And all the while, he wears his wedding ring.

On a Line of "Astrophil and Stella"

This garden irritates: a spate of crude,
late blossoms lingering past October frost:
one sullen rose; a ragged little brood
of lilies by the pond; and by the post,
a blowsy dahlia with an attitude
of cool defiance is vamping on and on,
inelegant and passionate. It isn't rude,
she's still protesting, to overstay the season.

O, dangerous age of forty-nine! My mood,
despite this Indian summer, is autumnal
and even in my greenhouse chills intrude
from time to time. I've tried the usual
remedies--music, art and solitude--
But ah, Desire still cries, give me some food.


Lorna Knowles Blake's poems, essays and reviews have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Barrow Street, The Bellingham Review, Dogwood, The Hudson Review and other journals, as well as in several anthologies, including Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English, edited by Agha Shahid Ali, Sonnets: 150 Contemporary Sonnets, edited by William Baer, and Chance of a Ghost: an Anthology of Contemporary Ghost Poems, edited by Philip Miller and Gloria Vando. She lives and works in New York City.


Melissa Balmain
Lorna Knowles Blake
Catherine Chandler
Jehanne Dubrow
Anna Evans
Midge Goldberg
Dolores Hayden
Juleigh Howard-Hobson
Julie Kane
Luann Landon
Susan McLean
Julia Randall
Terri Witek

Therese Chabot creates delicate, ephemeral installations – carpets, dresses and crowns – using flower petals and natural materials to speak of the stages of life and the paths we are given to choose from.
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