not even death will part us

Windchime 
by Tony Hoagland

She goes out to hang the windchime


in her nightie and her work boots.


It’s six-thirty in the morning


and she’s standing on the plastic ice chest


tiptoe to reach the cross beam 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


wasn’t making


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 on the ice chest;


the problem scrunched into her forehead;


the little kissable mouth


with the nail in it.
 
Tony Hoagland, “Windchime” from What Narcissism Means to Me. Copyright © 2003 by Tony Hoagland. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, http://www.graywolfpress.org.

Even the pursuit of democracy will concern us after death:

 

. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The Gettsburgh Address by Abraham Lincoln

 

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