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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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American life in poetry

Ted Kooser U.S. Poet Laureate

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:

The Wind Chimes

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.

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