In the attic of this hundred year-old house
the gable window stares dry-eyed into the sun.

Years ago, careless and in a hurry to finish at the top
of a tall ladder, I painted it shut from the outside.

Now it won’t budge. With the heels of both hands
I press against the middle rail, push up hard,

again, a third time and break the seal—but
the stiles skew—the frame jams fast.

I hear inside the wall the window’s counterweights
recoil and clang together, bang against the wood mullion.

The brittle cord connecting them fails—they fall
and with them what I took for granted, the way things work

I’ve got to yank the stuck sash back, take care to keep it
true. The once rote motion of lifting and lowering, takes a knack

now. With the window free a burdened balance replaces
the ease the architect intended. I have to hold it open.

A breeze glides across my face like a transparent
wave enveloping a stove-in hull lodged deep in sand.

The new air billows into the attic; its turbulence
disturbs a wasp nesting overhead in the gable’s peak.

It buzzes drowsily down to the bright panes, taps
like a fingernail against the glass, drops to the sill

and darts to the light outside. I listen for the faint drone
to return, but it doesn’t; and I’ve no reason, I suppose,

to keep holding the hobbled window open. But I don’t
want to let the heft of it drop, to close a way of returning

George Kovach

George Kovach (1947-2020), author of poetry collection The Light Outside, served as a combat infantryman in Vietnam where he was awarded a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars for Valor. He returned home, married, completed his undergraduate degree, raised three children, and had a twenty-year career in the field of commercial real estate. While working to overcome debilitating symptoms of PTSD, he returned to his love of literature and earned his MA and then MFA in creative writing at UMass Boston. Next he launched CONSEQUENCE Magazine, an award-winning literary journal addressing the culture and consequences of war through poetry, prose and visual art, now in its twelfth year. George turned his disabling experience of war into an act of literary creation; and dedicated himself to editing and publishing the work of international artists and writers who understood and expressed war’s meaning and impact the world over. He will be remembered for the courage displayed in everything he took on, his skill as an encouraging and rigorous editor, his discriminating good taste, his generosity, his remarkable kindness, and the grace with which he blessed the world.

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