Elaine Bleakney Poems




Behind the shutters the window was open


I was not opening the shutters

but I could feel the light behind them

and inside my thinking about opening,

the same dream of containing

everything I love


continued. The light wanted

nothing and wanting was what

I gave, not always according

to the walls and spaces between.

I was not opening


but light was getting in and I was

not you on the couch, sleeping.

And the back of the couch met

breezeway. Behind the shutters the window

was open so wind


in the tree became the room’s,

and left no trace of itself inside

but the scent of leaves and the leaves

blew through me, told me I could

be blown through.




Small Window Above the Bath


Why should my hands keep anything? My fingers—

want to feel the waterway filled with how many fevers?

And the warped coolness from somewhere,

always something to do with sleep.


When I am cruel to you, I try to

close. In the bath, there is no bad pattern.

No behavior but the water’s warm opening. I adhere

to nothing but the shape I want to make.



Elaine Bleakney is a graduate of Kenyon College and UC Irvine’s MFA program. Her work has previously appeared in Crab Orchard Review.



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