Well, youʼre standing on my sternum don’t you climb down darling
Oh the sermons are the first to rest
Smoke on Sundays when youʼre drunk and dressed
Out the hollows where the swallow nests

from Bon Iver – Towers Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

The sternum protects the heart and lungs, therefore he is professing that she has control over his heart and life. He’s fully in love, and he can’t let her go. All of her innocent perceptions and fairy tales (sermons) died fast, and she sinks into the state of reality that he was in when she found him. The last line is important to restoring contentment to the song. Swallows are symbolic of hope, new love, and happiness, and the ‘hollows’ represent the depths of her soul. Therefore, he is saying that hope and happiness continue to ‘nest’ or regenerate within her soul.

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