Aug 132013

by Robert Rothman


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

replenishing belief in self, dull steel

made into useful blade, the cutting edge

of life’s full 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 mementos. 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 at 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.