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

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

The single glass pane reminds me now
of the false place
outside—

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
east-facing

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 is the writer of six books, including Eumaeus Tends, and Selenity Book Four. His new book Sorgmantel, follows a view of Lucretius, but employs time, the predicate of physics, into a search for what can be imagined out of the possible and impossible. It can be read, perhaps, as an elegy for generations whose existence humankind is threatening, including humankind. Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.