Skip to content

thank you, Tony Hoagland

I am standing in the doorway when I read Tony Hoagland’s poem. David and our niece and nephew are playing with toy cars and trucks and planes, and I’m about to join them. Jack sings gleefully to the tune of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man: “I am orange plane, orange-orange-orange, whack-whack-whack!”

I didn’t expect Hoagland’s words to hallow the doorway of this basement guest room in Bellevue, Nebraska. I turn from the children to hide the tears in my eyes.

I put the magazine down on the bureau alongside clothes, jewelry, a luggage-search notice from the TSA, and the calamine lotion I’ve been using to treat poison ivy spots on my ankles.

the bureau

For years I thought I was immune to poison ivy, but lately I’ve realized that I am immune to nothing. Not poison ivy, not depression, not death nor indignity nor despair.

These are the lines that cradle me in the arms of the morning:

Living is a kind of wound;

a wound is a kind of opening;

and even love that disappeared

mysteriously comes back

like water bubbling up from underground,

cleansed from its long journey in the dark.*

The children are putting the toys away in the plastic bin. I am deciding again that I do not want to be immune, that I am willing to be the wound. I am willing to journey in the dark.

toy box

David and the kids walk in.

David and the kids

My husband kisses my forehead, and Ally and Jack nuzzle me like cats. There are so many things we can do together, and the day has just begun.

so much to do


*The full poem, “Message To A Former Friend,” can be found in the August 2015 issue of The Sun magazine. To learn about the amazing Tony Hoagland, read this. To read an excerpt or two, check out this page: Hoagland in the Sun magazine.

4 thoughts on “thank you, Tony Hoagland”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Hannah. I too was knocked out when I read this in the Sun(as I often am reading much of Tony Hoagland’s work).

Comments are closed.