Russell Rowland


Say you are ten years a widow,
never moved to remarry;
your husband’s fourth wife,
and he finally got it right—

older man—you were likely to
outlast him, fulfilling the vow
about have and hold till death
should part.  Every Christmas

you buy a red poinsettia
for church in his memory,
every Easter a lily, though
he never attended with you.

Each day you drive a car
he didn’t live to see you in,
push a grocery cart to shop
for one, and take food home

to cook for one.  You watch
couples bicker in the aisles;
see them sit in restaurants,
each busy with a cellphone,

if you slip in to dine alone.
Sometimes you look ahead
to where train-tracks converge;
where road-mirages shimmer.

Someone is standing there,
too distant to identify.  It may
be him, yourself, or another.
Go see.  Go.  There is time.

© Russell Rowland

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His latest poetry book, Wooden Nutmegs, is available from Encircle Publications.

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