WIDOWERED

No one to call ten times a day, to share
the random thought that washed to shore brings in
its tow a memory that no one else

but she can know, the castles of delight
built one by one on sun streaked beaches where
young bodies exulted in their play. No one

to come home to, no waiting, vibrant, smiling
face on the landing, no familiar flesh
that fit so well, that folded in gave peace,

no perfume, no chatter, no cooking smells,
no flowers. How silent a house can be
alone, a mausoleum echoing

footfall. No one across the kitchen table,
meals for one at home or out are stale
and tasteless times without the zest of her,

communion without sanctuary, a look
electrifying belief in self, dull steel
made hot and tempered into blade, the cutting

edge of possibilities she gave,
refired, rehoned, a man’s a fragile thing.
No idle wanderings down lanes and alleys,

summer picnics in fields of lavender,
the silver piece found in a country store.
No more the lilt and laughter of surprise,

the search for gift, the wrapping paper, bow,
the scribbled feelings on the card, the touch
to face, her box of mementoes. The joy

to have her near, the ocean swell of pride
watching, walking by her side. The ten thousand
discoveries, the secret history

of years come end. No one to shorten night,
soften hard realities of day in yielding,
answering flesh. No one to soothe, to knead

old pains and doubts to rest. No one to put
an arm around, to draw in close, to breathe
in hair and skin, no one to dream about.