Michael Broek

The Window Light, The Dead Boy Isn’t Dad & The Window Light Again
January 22, 2021 Broek Michael

The Window Light

Painting around the windowsill
blue, dark brush hairs wet with what
my colorblind eyes see as saturated sky
but really just discovered somewhere between
cyan and indigo (the spectrum continuous
I frame the frame that frames the lake
its divisions arbitrary). Yellow sill
blue air where it meets the lake, green
though not really air and not really color
but frequency or vibrations—my wrist
pulse or the length of my exhalations counted
as a metronome, a slow clock waiting
on the hospital ward for release, the stepping
out from this corridor of doors, then another.


The Dead Boy Isn’t Dad


The quiet is so as not to wake the de/ad
though he isn’t de/ad. I mean the quiet
is so as not to wake him de/ad—
the wakefulness that might kill him, though
there is a version of him already de/ad
which is sometimes necessary & good—
a next that won’t come until the before
is absented & buried or else just whispered
into darkness & placed in a cardboard box
in the back of the nightmare closet, but this is
not the story, yet, of this de/ad boy marched
between two uniforms into one car’s screaming
lights on a night draped by another night
draped by another night & driven away.


The Window Light Again


I am watching that show again—the fifth
or sixth time, maybe more, though show
isn’t the right word—series perhaps, though that too
is insufficient—scores of hours long. Weeks
or months I’ve spent like this. Let’s call it
a roman vivant or an enacted myth, something indelible.
Movies are ruined for me. Unless there’s a movie
composed in real time, the action only taking two
hours to perform—scenes of a father rocking his colicky
adopted infant to sleep or the last argument about divorce
in the time between the children going out to play,
then returning home for dinner. Do children even
do that anymore? Even Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
takes longer than dinner ever did at my house.
But, I admit, I’m beginning to fast forward because
I know exactly how it ends, though oddly, I start
to forget how it all began & then there’s the murky
middle part, like watching two people showering through
frosted glass—you know what’s happening in there
but the details are smudged & those could be nearly
any two adults in there getting clean. The end,
though—an arrow knocked in my brain. They will turn
off the water & dry themselves, lie down, eventually sleep.
One day, each will wake up late, alone & make dinner,
children not coming home.
And one alone will have forgotten how it all began.
No one arriving. Then a figure steps out & starts.

Michael Broek is the author of Refuge/es, winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award for poetry, from Alice James Books, and two chapbooks, The Logic of Yoo, from Beloit Poetry Journal, and The Amputation Artist, from ELJ Publications. He has received fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and the Marble House Project, a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and two grants from the New Jersey State Arts Council in Poetry.