Matthew Porto
The Scientist

What kept him there by the frost-scored glass
was not the symmetry and pattern in the ice;
naked eye and magnifying glass confirmed
these crystals would not conform: fronds and grasses,
prairie aster, starflower, and the four-lobed forsythia
with pendant petals as if under rain; all of these
suggested by the frost on the pane.
Dreaming nature dreamt this up, my father muttered,
as he bent in close once more, leaning softly
into the second hour of staring, scribbling notes,
shaking his head, staring. As I watch him,
I wonder at his long silver hair,
unkempt, tangled like some muddle of vegetation;
windblown, swept off his furrowed face,
though the air of the living room was stuffy and still.
When I play outside, gathering snow
handful by handful to build the palace
of my snow-king’s domain, I see him sitting there,
staring at the window, but never through it.

Matthew Porto holds an MFA in poetry from Boston University. His work has appeared in Poet Lore, Salamander, storySouth, and elsewhere. He is currently pursuing a PhD in creative writing at Texas Tech University.