Glass Effects

Clark Chatlain

Windows are strange membranes. They allow the movements of others, of those outside who move without knowing they are watched, to pass muted and silent and with a meaning that seems uncertain, but still actual. Only under specific circumstances, on the other hand, in a certain afternoon light or at night, when the lights are on, can those outside discern anything on the inside. This reversal, of course, is due to glare, to the effects of light on glass. But these membranes allow nothing beyond the visible to pass—unless the thing that wishes to pass moves with a force and is composed of a material that when combined, shatters glass. Softer things suffer. So birds sometimes find their deaths here. Flying so quickly and without fear they slam into a window and perish. Perhaps we hear the impact. Perhaps not. Then later we find their small, destroyed bodies on the ground. We gather the remains and bury them in a small sack by the fence near the alley. Probably saying nothing. Turning after the burial to see the sun sunk low in the west: we were raking fallen leaves in the late evening waiting for the baseball game to begin.