By Linda Bierds b. 1945 Linda Bierds
When the cow died by the green sapling,   
her limp udder splayed on the grass   
like something from the sea, we offered   
our words in their low calibrations—
which was our fashion—then severed   
her horns with a pug-toothed blade   
and pounded them out to an amber   
transparency, two sheets that became,
in their moth-wing haze, our parlor windows.   
They softened our guests with the gauze-light   
of the Scriptures, and rendered to us,   
on our merriest days, the sensation   
of gazing through the feet of a gander.   
In time we moved up to the status   
of glass—one pane, then two—each   
cupping in proof of its purity
a dimple of fault, a form of distortion   
enhancing our image. We took the panes   
with us from cottage to cottage,   
moth-horn and glass, and wedged up   
the misfitted gaps with a poultice   
of gunny and wax. When woodsmoke   
darkened our bricks, we gave
to the windowsills a lacquer
of color—clear blue with a lattice
of yellow: a primary entrance and exit   
for light. And often, walking home   
from the river and small cheese shop,
we would squint their colors to a sapling   
green, and remember the hull
of that early body, the slap of fear
we suffered there, then the little wash   
of recovery that is our fashion—how
we stroked to her bones a cadenced droning,   
and took back from her absence, our
amber, half-literal method of sight.

Linda Bierds, “Windows” from The Ghost Trio (New York: Henry Holt, 1994).
Copyright © 1994 by Linda Bierds. Reprinted with the permission of the

Source: The Ghost Trio: Poems (Henry Holt & Co., 1994)

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Poet Linda Bierds b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

 Linda  Bierds


Linda Bierds was born in Wilmington, Delaware and raised in Seattle, Washington. She earned her BA and MA, with an emphasis in fiction, from the University of Washington. Bierds credits her poetry’s distinct style and interests to her early work as a fiction writer. She spoke to Contemporary Authors about life after receiving her degree:“Once on my own, writing each morning before going to a part-time job as a file clerk, it was . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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