Old windows are best: nicked, scratched, or scored;

new glass, like young faces, lacks the pocks and pits


for ice to take hold, and in cold night to filigree

a tapestry of interweaving lines


as fine as any spider could weave, a crystal

arabesque, a fretwork of white that obscures


and ornaments, so trees, rooflines, and passersby

seem seen in overlay, a pentimento


that heightens, as when listening to another:

time stops and blood surges, the words beneath


the uttered are heard, the tracery of others’

fault lines in invisible view: splintered glass and cracks


softly exploding, as does ice when sun’s

first heat touches frost, patterned across sand and


ash heated into clear, before perception

fogs, the double vision done, heart and eyes


returned to surface sight, the melt running down

the glass in drips and drizzles, dissolved in the light.


Robert Rothman has had work appear in Atlanta Review, The Alembic, Existere, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Westview, Willow Review, and over fifty other literary journals.

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