The Sea in the Window

The sea through the window, always the window, always the endless sea, wild yet tamed in its stable frame — wind hole, wind eye—through which the wind would blindly tear past the glass if it could, through which

we behold from our safe interior the tumult—unchained and vast. Between us and the sea the palms in the park sway and flex, giving in while holding fast against each gust, absorbing it into their snakeskin trunks.

Come, they say to the wind, rip through us. And the wind accedes, tearing loose the dead fronds, exfoliating the surface, baring the vital base.
From the window we watch with the seasons, the palms strewing

the beach, performing their wanton strip tease— withholding then spending their excess and recoiling, yielding
to the battering winds. Letting go.

Only yesterday, I watched a finch struggle and briefly win against the gale-force current, refusing to fall, the nest she had made
on the sill upstairs—a little thing of twigs and feathery debris—firm

on the ledge, mold and muck helping it adhere; she stayed a while then disappeared, never to return. The finch abhors the violent wind. She curls in her wings shielding the future she nurtures in her womb.

What is the future to a palm? Indifferent to the past it welcomes change, loss, renewal—the precarious present.
I long to know what the palm knows—but her secrets elude me.

I am forever buffeted forward, looking ahead and then back, as my present shrinks. All the cities of my past are with me, while the cities of the future hurry me on. Time the wind moving through me, through all the chambers of my heart, up

my arteries to my head, through the lobes of my brain; time blows through all the digits and follicles, every organ, muscle, ligament, every cell, inside and out, yesterday’s body a closet of dresses and sandals of summers gone by. Meanwhile winter’s blustery

skirts are filling, slowly billowing their sails, whispering me awake. At dawn I wake with the sea quiet yet undiminished
in the frame of my window, the dim moon still hovering

on the far horizon, the sun rising in the east, blazing a brazen trail straight to the shore. I’d like to leap down and ride its fire path across the water,

some day follow the palm— just for a moment— and say Come,
come wind, take me.

 

Peg Boyers is Executive Editor of Salmagundi Magazine and teaches poetry workshops at the New York State Summer Writers Institute and Skidmore College‘s English Department. She is the author of Hard Bread, Honey with Tobacco, and To Forget Venice.