Windows In the Wind

By Helene Stallcup

I remember going out,

unfolding from these pleated hills

as green as spring grass

sprouting on a high

rock-freckled knob.

I moved into the coral mist

and walked among

the breadfruit trees.

eating papayas, coconuts,

watching life and little lizards

race across the warm wet sand

as tradewinds wiped

the sudden showers dry.

At Timbuktu the world I knew

was out of time and reason.

The camel became more

urgent than the car,

as sand whispered ancient secrets,

or blamed me with its real

and present fury.

The Riviera welcomed me with bells from lofty, red clay steeples, thrilled me with the scenes on terraced hills, while bathers, close as clamshells, languished on her beaches

But Paris could not keep

her promises, and taught me

April can be cold.

Even when I held her close

and hugged the rain

I felt more wet than loved.

Madrid, in morning sunlight,

opened pages to her past,

castles and cathedrals,

mosques and museums,

singing fountains circling

statues in the plaza.

After noon she slept and kept

the pages to herself.

I remember then, returning,

wise with wonder, and blue

as a Ouachita valley

full of April mist

The yearning in the wind,

the bells, the fountains,

even sand and rain,

still cause me pain and I wonder if I lost or gained by going out.