• Mark Defoe

"Husbandry: The Old Widower at the Corner House"


Husbandry: The Old Widower at the Corner House

The thing, perhaps, is to plant flowers and not be afraid

His days with his wife fade toward a trackless desert.

His constant garden keeps her close. He waters

the memories of their days together with

an old man’s secret tears. He bestows his roses

on women who pass, and they accept like

flustered prom queens. He reminds them of their

lonely grandpas, and find him harmless

and smile kindly and dub him a sweetheart.

His wife and he had not planned this, each hoping

to go first. He is left to tend her absence

with splashes, sprays, and pinwheels of cosmos,

daisies, four-o’clocks and holly hocks.

Zinnias, lilies and dahlias rise around

him in an anthem and hymn of color.

He hoes and speaks with her shadow,

knowing she listens:

Here we are again, love, like so many

times before, near winter’s edge. Reach out.

Reach out your kind and steady hand and smile.

I am afraid. Tell me what I must do.

Mark DeFoe's work has appeared in chapbooks, anthologies and in Poetry, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Yale Review, Smartish Pace, Denver Q. and many others. He is a member of the core faculty of West Virginia Wesleyan' MFA Program.


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