Those small cuts and infections on my hands from splinters and thorns that show I have been working out of doors this week. The maddening peculiar purgatory of Bob Seeger and the Silver Bullet Band playing “Against the Wind” continuously for three days inside my head until on the fourth day it finally stops. The sound of clothes going around in the dryer at the other end of the house. Wanting from a very young age not to be a zombie sleepwalking through time. Leaving people, and being left by them. This catch-and-release version of life. The kidnappers send out a photograph of the hostage, grimacing, holding up a newspaper from yesterday. They call this “proof of life.” It means the captive is still alive. The day is blue with one high white cloud like a pilgrim going to Canterbury. There is a bird half-hidden in the shrub outside. Something he has eaten has made his chest feathers red.
From Five Points, Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2017.
Copyright © 2017 by Tony Hoagland.Used with the permission of the author.
Tony Hoagland (1953-2018) published seven poetry collections, including Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God (2018). He taught in the University of Houston creative writing program and in the low-residency Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.