American Life in Poetry: Column 628
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
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 © 2019 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.