How a Doorbell Withers by Dianna Mackinnon Henning

How a Doorbell Withers

Everything dies when someone you love dies.
Trees wilt back into their snug comforter of earth,
plants create snafus, fail to bloom;
even the newspaper curdles its ink.

Any speaking of lighter days dims:
Remember when we tangoed along the piazza?
But someone doesn’t nod yes,
isn’t capable of memory, its gold mine.

Before your question reaches him, he crumples
into the sports page, his mouth agape,
face flushed. You can’t recall what hour
he was whisked away in a kaleidoscope of sirens,

the house suddenly so large you no longer fit
comfortably inside. Didn’t even the doorbell wither
to a barely audible sound, and didn’t you think it him
ringing, his house key again locked in the car?

by Dianna Mackinnon Henning

Editor’s Note: This poem’s brilliant use of repetition and personification flawlessly illuminates the speaker’s grief and sense of displacement.


4 responses to “How a Doorbell Withers by Dianna Mackinnon Henning”

  1. addacat Avatar

    This is wonderful.

  2. crsunde Avatar

    Fine true poem.

  3. Melany Johnson Avatar
    Melany Johnson

    Thoughtfully brings back the space and time when Georgie and Jerry transitioned…

  4. Lucie Winborne Avatar
    Lucie Winborne

    Recent deaths in my family and a former coworker’s family made this poem even more poignant.

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