from Windows

by Dennis Maloney

Thunderstorms and rain followed us
along the rough pothole-filled roads
of Bulgaria and before the reading
in house of Elias Canetti
the sky let loose in Ruse

In Tarnovo at the reading
I read a poem about hiding under
our desks as children to shield us
from Russian nuclear bombs
only to find the audience did
the same to shield themselves
from American bombs
as if those desks would protect
us from radiation and each other

After the reading a hail storm
in the seventy-degree weather
In this conversation we find
what binds us together

Just now sitting beside the Danube
I miss running my fingers 
through your hair
feeling how your head
settles against my shoulder

In this country where I
understand no language 
I want to speak the tongue 
where we are the only speakers
to settle your fears in the night

I bring you a gift
of a lace tablecloth
made by seven pairs
of hands, each with

their own distinctive stitch
from the island of Morano
at the edge of a long
faded watery empire

the gold and the navy
of conquest long gone
leaving armies of tourists
to wander among the ruins

rows of houses awash in pastels
against a blazing  Mediterranean sun

Fishing boats bob on a pink
and pale-blue sea framed by
flowerpots on the balcony,
tumbling green ivy, reflected
in the open glass doors

The boats and the sea refuse
to recede in a dazzling vibrating light
Evenings are best here as the sky
darkens, yellow lamps reflect
warm pastels and deep blues.

Monet endlessly reworked
the surface of the canvas
combining flowers, reflections,

sunlight, ripples, and depth
to capture the impossible task,
preserving the essence

of the garden he created
He wanted the painted
lily pond to remember all

Dennis Maloney is a poet and translator. A number of volumes of his own poetry have been published, including, The Map Is Not the Territory: Poems & Translations; Just Enough, and Listening to Tao Yuan Ming. The bilingual German/English volume, Empty Cup, was published in Germany in 2017.  Recent collections include, The Things I Notice Now and The Faces of Guan Yin.