Poem by Rebecca Teich
Through, the Window
I saw her through the window. Watering plants. It was impossible, you know? Impossible to see. Her, I mean. Lift up your chin, lift up—no, it’s impossible to live up to, up to that window. Small of stature, she glides from green to green, treating each pot with, each pot with, each with an overgrown plant, almost crawling out of the ceramic hold.
What I mean is that even though my body was out of eyeshot I hoped to god she would see me.
I saw her a lot, but I was in the crowd, and she was on the stage. Which is to say, I played a part of the crowd, and she played the stage. It was her instrument. Sometimes, she would walk over to me, over to me, over me. Step over me, nothing to see here except that twinkle in her eye. I didn't know bodies did that. What I mean is that I don't think my body can do that.
Often, I try to tilt my chin up to look her smack in the eye. Often, but the levels are never right. My knees stiff from sitting, hers locked and tall. Her not her but that pinpoint dancing around the podium. Me not me but nameless, thrashing, thrashing in the waves of fidgeting onlookers. Ever notice how in the theater when one cough sounds then suddenly everyone’s hacking, hacking, just a hack among hacks?
What I’m trying to say is that there’s rarely a needle in the haystack, as far as I can recall.
It was December cold, and my jacket still hung from my hand like a flag. Stiff fingers get me good this time of year. And I still couldn't see her eyes, with her bent down, all gentle, tending to each, tending, tending to move right on to the next. Each movement slow and same, bowing before brown pots, before frostbitten windows and curtains shaking with fake heat, before it was too late. Which is to say, will it always be like this? Where I freeze outside, nakedly dumb, just for a glimpse at an eye? Or two—maybe three, if I'm lucky.
- Woman Through Window © I'm Priscilla; Creative Commons license.
Rebecca Teich studies English at Columbia University. Her writing, both creative and expository, has been featured or is forthcoming in Big Think, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, the Advocate, Gambling the Aisle, 4x4, and Souvenir Lit Journal. She is co-editor-in-chief for the Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism and works as an assistant instructor for children's writing workshops.