Many Years Married
She always used waxed paper,
and he — his thick, calloused fingers
thumbing the folds at noon— would lift
to his hunger-timed mouth each wedge
of cheddar her blue-vesseled hands
slipped between slices of honeyed ham
resting in two crusted pockets of bread
she'd spread with a knife's point of mustard.
Once, to show how much he loved
her, he gave her a Shaker's nest
of boxes — large secreting small, one
measured to accept the other, in form
and pattern perfectly sized — and watched
her eyes dart to the last, its red and green
confetti filling her lap, hiding nothing but
what was the emptiness she found there.
The afternoon he died he was doing
what she wanted, ignoring all the signs
his body was sending, waiting for
the one moment he could say the words
and put his right hand there, on his heart
that had been broken.
© 2011, 2012 Maureen E. Doallas