The Whistle

By Kathy Mangan Kathy Mangan
You could whistle me home from anywhere
in the neighborhood; avenues away,
I’d pick out your clear, alternating pair
of notes, the signal to quit my child’s play
and run back to our house for supper,
or a Saturday trip to the hardware store.
Unthrottled, wavering in the upper
reaches, your trilled summons traveled farther
than our few blocks. I’ve learned too, how your heart’s
radius extends, though its beat
has stopped. Still, some days a sudden fear darts
through me, whether it’s my own city street
I hurry across, or at a corner in an unknown
town: the high, vacant air arrests me—where’s home?

Poem copyright ©1995 by Kathy Mangan, from her most recent book of poems Above the Tree Line, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1995. Reprinted by permission of Kathy Mangan and the publisher.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Kathy Mangan

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Youth, Parenthood, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Poet Kathy Mangan is the author of Above the Tree Line (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1995). She poetry has been published in former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's column, "American Life in Poetry." She lives in Maryland.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Youth, Parenthood, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.