For many years she wanted them to leak out of poems, or no, maybe eke had been more what she’d been after, like her husband blowing into his e-flat horn, and the way she’d shyly push toward him the silver cup for the spittle he said was necessary for the notes. The two of them had their plans in place, so all was well. First they’d give themselves a good minute on the bridge, four hundred feet up over the lake—a minute to admire it; then he would climb first and she would follow over the rail. They both hated the water’s cold but it would only hurt for a sec. They’d thought it through: how they will, they must, enjoy the descent, the last of the mountains speeding by, the end of the air. He would hold on to her and she to him, just as they’d done in those years they tried to stay alive.
Nance Van Winckel is the author of nine poetry collections, the newest of which is The Many Beds of Martha Washington (Lynx House Press, forthcoming 2021), and five books of fiction, including Ever Yrs, a novel in the form of a scrapbook (Twisted Road Publications, 2014), and Boneland: Linked Stories (University of Oklahoma Press, 2013). She teaches in Vermont College’s MFA in Writing Program and is visual poetry editor of Poetry Northwest. Her writing has appeared in the Pushcart Prize anthology, The Southern Review, AGNI, Poetry Northwest, The Kenyon Review, FIELD, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of two NEA poetry fellowships, the Washington State Book Award, the Paterson Fiction Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Award, a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes, she lives in Spokane, Washington. (updated 04/2021)