Art Bar 

American Life in Poetry

Painful separations, through divorce, through death, through alienation, sometimes cause us to focus on the objects around us, often invested with sentiment.

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.


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.

Send comments to

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 7, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation