proof of life


Proof of Life
Tony Hoagland
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 Seger 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.

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

Leave a Reply