Umbrella
A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose


Jared Carter’s

most recent collection of poems, Cross this Bridge at a Walk, is from Wind Publications in Kentucky.

His web site contains additional poems and stories.


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The Glass in Old Windows

Grasping the long pipe,
the glassmaker goes up
the stepladder’s steps,
blowing softly and
swinging the gather of
molten glass back
and forth, back and forth.

The earth reaches out
for this shining but
the glassmaker takes
still another step,
whispering down
the length of the pontil,
Let it go, let it go,
now it is mine.


The earth will not yield
and the words of his
whisper are trapped
like seeds in a gourd,
they become fainter
the higher he climbs,
the glass stretches farther,
a cylinder now, slowly
fading and cooling.

Apprentices reach
with their paddles
and tongs made of iron
to catch it and take it
away from him, lay it
in sand and cut off
its still-gleaming head
and its pendulous foot,
then open its length
with a singular slice.

There’s nothing inside,
no murmuring ember,
not even an echo of
earlier brightness.
They fold back the lines
of the cut, unfurling
and smoothing until
it’s a rectangle now,
stretched on a table
of lusterless sand
and perfectly clear.

Yet each time I look
through the panes
of this venerable house
where I live, the trees
and the fence posts
are slightly off center,
my true line of sight
is deceived by the swirls
in the glassand such
imperfection draws me
closer than ever from
inside to outside.

That which is crooked
has beckoning power,
and always a faint voice
seems to be calling
it’s the glassmaker
saying, See what I gave,
look through this thing
that I made out of fire
and sand, and breathed
into life, while you
gaze at the world
through nothing at all,
only my fashioning.