Painful separations — through divorce, through death, through alienation — sometimes cause us to focus on the objects around us, often invested with sentiment...
Painful separations — through divorce, through death, through alienation — sometimes cause us to focus on the objects around us, often invested with sentiment. Here’s Shirley Buettner, having packed up what’s left of a relationship.
— Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate
The Wind Chimes
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Two wind chimes,
one brass and prone to anger,
one with the throat of an angel,
swing from my porch eave,
sing with the storm.
Last year I lived five months
under that shrill choir,
boxing your house, crowding books
into crates, from some pages
your own voice crying.
Some days the chimes raged.
Some days they hung still.
They fretted when I dug up
the lily I gave you in April,
blooming, strangely, in fall.
Together, they scolded me
when I counted pennies you left
in each can, cup, and drawer,
when I rechecked the closets
for remnants of you.
The last day, the house empty,
resonant with space, the two chimes
had nothing to toll for.
I walked out, took them down,
carried our mute spirits home.
From “Thorns,” published by Juniper Press, 1995. Copyright © 1995 by Shirley Buettner, and reprinted with permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry. “American Life in Poetry” appears Fridays in Northwest Life.