All Our Windows

by Susanna Childress

           That year when all we did was fight
and fuck, fuck and fight, I felt awful—we both did,
                        I know—for the guy who lived with us, who came home
            from the seminary to our shouts, one set sounding
astoundingly like the other. I never heard him

             arrive but always I heard him leave, which is when you
would turn, your neck strained as a horse’s
                        in parade, beautiful and frightened, listening for a mount
             on the stairs while I caught the pedals of his ancient bike
scraping toward a library of bibles, kids

              on the street playing Not-It and all our windows
flung up. Admit it: you didn’t know the difference—the sound of a door
                        opening, the sound it makes
            when shut. I kept thinking that year would end
with a quiet conference, that we’d sit him down

             in the breakfast nook, night’s clamped-shut-stink
still on his breath and begin, Look, Corey, we’re sorry. It’s just that
                        we’re having a baby. And then,
            everyone’s face blooming a stupid rose red, yours
the same as when you jog, low, a fiery swipe of color

            straddling your lips, he would forgive us
our ruckus, his eyes shining a little with what doesn’t spill, New
                        life, he’d say. And who knows. We each
            could’ve found a place inside to make sense of the snow
that started too early and would not, for anything, let up.

Originally published by New South,