Oxfords

Paul wondered what happens
when a window looks sideways.

He had wondered this since
nineteen-thirty four—

fifty years before he was born
into a midwest city with a lot of snow.

Around the time young men become fathers
Paul wondered

what happens when he looks sideways
instead of inward or outward.

He thought this on a train into Chicago
when staring at other people’s irises

was frowned upon by some rules
he discovered were unwritten.

Paul looked out the train at the scenery,
but the sky was tinted green

just as the window glass was
and the daffodils looked a little sickly.

Realizing he noticed the hazel tone
of a passenger’s irises,

he looked down at his shoes
and felt he participated in some joke

his father used to tell on those days
he had to be a patient.

Involuntarily, Paul’s hand swiftly rose up
and struck his forehead.

Paul wondered what happens
when a window looks down

and sees it has no feet
for shoes to be worn upon.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney

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