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.