by Tony Hoagland
She goes out to hang the windchime
in her nightie and her workboots.
It’s six-thirty in the morning
and she’s standing on the plastic ice chest
tiptoe to reach the crossbeam of the porch,
windchime in her left hand,
hammer in her right, the nail
gripped tight between her teeth
but nothing happens next because
she’s trying to figure out
how to switch #1 with #3.
She must have been standing in the kitchen,
coffee in her hand, asleep,
when she heard it– the wind blowing
through the sound the windchime
because it wasn’t there.
No one, including me, especially anymore believes
till death do us part,
but I can see what I would miss in leaving–
the way her ankles go into the work boots
as she stands upon the ice chest;
the problem scrunched into her forehead;
the little kissable mouth
with the nail in it.
“Windchime” appeared in Tony Hoagland’s 2003 volume What Narcissism Means to Me and was first published in Threepenny Review. I chose it because I think the last two stanzas are incredible, and it seemed fitting for St. Valentine’s Day.