After The Affair

There was no one to tell, so it settled
in the lines of the house, in doorframes, ceilings, sills.

In the late afternoons that followed, she heard
what could have been someone knocking; a cardinal

beat its body against the living room window
as though desperate to come inside.

It could not see the space beyond the glass,
or know that it had been deceived again

into mistaking itself for something else. At dusk,
when the windows' slow reversal released

the bird, turning instead to her own face, disfamiliar,
terrible, she also knew the same desire

to fly into that room, that house, some other woman.

by Claudia Emerson

Other poems of EMERSON (45)

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