The crying girl

by Jude Goodwin
The Writer's Block
Third Place, February 2007
Judged by Pascale Petit

There’s someone crying,
a girl in an open window.
Sunlight pulls at her hair.
Behind her, shadows
ignore things. The girl
lifts one bare foot onto the sill,
then another. She holds
the window frame
like a painting, carries it
forward into the gallery of summer
where other girls sleep
on the beach, eat hard cheese
and learn chords. The major sevenths
sound like doorways. In her bag
is a pair of bellbottoms. In her ovaries
an egg named Harmony. The crying girl
sits in an idling Chevy, listens to Elvis
with reverb, her arms are covered
with spray-on velvet, the windows
are rolled up tight. She was there
last night, I could hear her muffled
mandolin as I locked our slider
and carried the cat
upstairs to bed.

At the heart of this poem is a luminous kinaesthetic image. That crying girl carrying the window forward into the "gallery of summer" lifts this poem onto another plane. It's a movement out of the poem's confines, into the open and future. Like the "egg named Harmony" in her ovaries, it's as if, at the core of the distress, there's also the possibility for transformation. This powerful image, coupled with the synaesthetic language of "the major sevenths / sound like doorways," made me go back and reread the poem many times for sheer pleasure. I enjoyed this poet's concentrated use of language and evocative image-making. --Pascale Petit