American Life in Poetry: Column 628

kooser_hp

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Once the carpenter put the sash-weights into the wall next to the window, they were never seen again. Eventually they fell off the ropes and with just one loud outcry fell deeper into the dark. But we propped the windows open with this and that, and forgot about the weights. Here’s a poem about those props by Michelle Menting, who lives in Maine, and who was once our assistant at American Life in Poetry. Her forthcoming book is Leaves Surface Like Skin from Terrapin Books.

Objects Used to Prop Open a Window

Dog bone, stapler,
cribbage board, garlic press
because this window is loose—lacks
suction, lacks grip.

Bungee cord, bootstrap,
dog leash, leather belt
because this window had sash cords.
They frayed. They broke.

Feather duster, thatch of straw, empty
bottle of Elmer’s glue
because this window is loud—its hinges clack
open, clack shut.

Stuffed bear, baby blanket,
single crib newel
because this window is split. It’s dividing
in two.

Velvet moss, sagebrush,
willow branch, robin’s wing
because this window, it’s pane-less. It’s only
a frame of air.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2015 by Michelle Menting, “Objects Used to Prop Open a Window,” from Decomp Magazine, (February, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Michelle Menting and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2017 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: