Bio Note: In 2021, after I lost my husband of sixty years,I began writing poems about our marriage,my husband's illness, caretaking, grief and recovery. I was surprised at how quickly they came. The poems turned into a full-length manuscript, Limited Editions, which will be published by Cavankerry Press in November 2023.
After boxing up the suits in your closet, the ties hanging on the rack, comes clearing out your desk. After I find your Master’s diploma in the file next to the house deed, after I touch your father’s gold cuff links, read an essay you wrote in college on motivation, I look up at the book shelves — five Thomas Pynchon novels, a row of Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Life and Times of Groucho. After I throw away your worn wallet with social security card, drivers’ license, I find a newspaper clipping about a restaurant in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, the town you left behind but when mentioned, always made you smile. This thickening feeling, like the empty lots of my childhood. There is such a space to cross to where you are.
Boredom all day, television in the evening. I pump my own gas, set the thermostat for Standard Time, program the all-night lamp, change the bills to automatic deduction, Thursdays carry the everyday trash to the curb — Wednesdays, comingled, Will I ever learn which is which? I am not falling, have an appetite, barbeque on the new electric grill with Mexican and Indian sauces from Trader Joes. I found a denim shirt on sale that snaps, no buttons to fight with. My body doesn’t creak. I can walk up and down stairs. My pink sweatshirt is warm and fits.
Your books huddle together on shelves like abandoned lovers, begging to be read aloud. I count thirty-five by Irish authors Like Joyce you loved to quote: Do you think life is a paradox? A quiet man, you let yourself be in The Wake’s lines without punctuation, running each other over. Oxygen mask removed, breath stopped; pulse silent, the attendants carried you away. Not the way the hero goes out in a Forties movie, smile on his face. Here’s lookin’ at you.
©2022 Carole Stone
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