Never Enough Air

“You know I can’t—
can’t breathe
when you keep all the windows shut!”

My mother’s consumption is
always severe
but only mind-deep.

All the windows here are wide open
on three sides of the screen-porch,
the porch open as it was always

before window panes.
Only one glass pane then in our new door.

The single glass pane reminds me now
of the false place

Europe’s cold war only a storm-past zephyr,
Korean conflict a sticky miasma—
bloody cypher to come.

We in the part of America
we claim as America
are faithlessly victorious.

Behind glass.
Sheltered in our porch

in a crisp wind from the west
that we’d have to think to face before we
discover the source of air.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.