Instructions for Building a Wind Chime

by Adriana Cloud

selected by Jane Hirshfield

Instructions For Telling Time

It was two o'clock twice one night.
Maybe the church bell was drunk or maybe time
lingered on a bridge
distracted by the idea of water.
My grandfather's donkey was called Sasha.
He used to hit her.
The bell has a tongue and uses it
to say Yes. Yes. Yes. What if you could
say only one thing for the rest of your life,
how your mouth would blister.
A bell is like an ocean but more precise.
He was a carpenter, his hands
smelled like splinters,
sawdust lapped at his feet.
The bell remembers every time you were late,
has a list of your insomnia
in alphabetical order.
Once he cried because after many months
I went back to visit.


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