Local News: Woman Dies in Chimney

They broke up and she, either fed up or drunk or undone,
          ached to get back inside. Officials surmise

she climbed a ladder to his roof, removed
          the chimney cap and entered feet first. Long story short,

she died there. Stuck. Like a tragic Santa. Struggling
          for days, the news explains. It was a smell that led

to the discovery of her body. One neighbor
          speaks directly into the microphone, asks how a person

could disregard so much: the damper, the flue,
          the smoke shelf. He can’t imagine what it was she faced.

The empty garage. The locked back door. And is that
          a light on in the den? They show us the grass

where they found her purse. And it’s not impossible to picture
          her standing on the patio — abandoned — the mind

turning obscene, all hopes pinned on refastening the snap.
          Then spotting the bricks rising above the roof

and at first believing and then knowing, sun flashing its
          god-blinding light behind it, that the chimney was the way.

More Poems by Kristen Tracy