Skip to content →

The Chiming of the Hour

The low tone of heavy December wind

moving through the attic’s slatted vents

awakens the woman lying on her side.

She sees how the muted morning light

drifts through window blinds and how her husband,

who was alive in her dream, is again in the earth.

This is the gray day that the Lord hath made.

She hears the soft, rapid ticking of the clock

beside her bed and how it mingles with

the bells outside. The woman does not know

why the wind chimes sound altogether different

in winter months. She does not know

what puts her in her navy dress and heels,

behind the wheel of her husband’s old sedan,

and into the pew they sat in all those years.

But she stands with the parishioners and mouths

the words of the doxology, her whisper lost

in the throng. She sits back down with them.

Back home, she will read the bulletin

and listen to the cable news anchorman

as if he were a bothersome neighbor child.

She does not know why she will not clean

the tables and mantelpiece of the gathering dust

nor why she has to check each windup clock

before she puts herself back into the dark.

Sometimes she wakes up singing.

from The BoatloadsFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2008
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Dan Albergotti Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.