After The Affair - Poem by Claudia Emerson
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.
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