Why the Window Washer Reads Poetry

A poem.

Why the Window Washer Reads Poetry (for Michael, who carried poems
in his work shirt pocket) 

He lowers himself
on a seat they call a cradle, rocking
in harnesses strung long-armed
from the roof.

Swiping windows clean
he spends his day
outside looking in.

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Mirrors refract light into his eyes
telescopes point down
photographs face away,
layers of dust
unifying everything.

Tethered and counterbalanced
these sky janitors hang,
names stitched on blue shirts
for birds to read.
Squeegees in hand they
arc lightly back and forth across
the building's eyes
descend a floor, dance again.

While the crew catches up
he pauses, takes a slim volume from his pocket
and balancing there,
36 stories above the street,
reads a poem or two
in which the reader is invariably placed
inside
looking out.

Laura Grace Weldon

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