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Poem: "Widow's Walk" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Widow's Walk"

This poem is from the January 8, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from siege.  It has been sponsored by the general fund.  This poem belongs to the series Monster House.  It is a sequel to "Sonset" although considerably later in the timeline, and it will make more sense if you read that first.  You can read more about Memorial Day and the widow's walk online.


Widow's Walk


She showed up early in May
when the perfume of blooming hyacinths
hung in the hair as sweet as honey.

The Eye of Fate hung in its customary place
between my budding breasts, but
I could see her only as a translucent shimmer
on the railed walkway atop the roof of our house,
slim vision of a girl in a flowing dress
forever gazing toward the horizon.

She had a duty,
but no specific destiny beyond it.

We all tried talking to her,
but she ignored us.
Whatever she was up to,
apparently it had nothing to do with us.
Since she wasn't doing any harm,
we left her to it.

On Memorial Day,
I went into the living room
to find the little old lady ghost
sitting in the rocker, crying.

I could hear  her crying.
Normally she was silent.
"What's wrong?" I asked.

"He stayed," she said
in a voice rough from disuse,
"but not for me."

I went out to the front yard
and looked up at the widow's walk.
There stood the watching woman
next to a tall young man in a bloody uniform,
the afternoon sun shining through their wispy forms.
She was holding the hand of his severed right arm
as if that were a perfectly normal thing to do,
and perhaps, for her, it was.

Who waits for lost soldiers,
the ones who will never come home?
It is the watching woman
who reminds them
of what lies beyond duty
when no one else can call them back
from their unfinished business.

I went back inside and
sat down beside the little old lady ghost.
I took her cold misty hand in mine,
and said nothing because
nothing I could say would make her feel better.

It always hurts
when family means something different
to you than it does to your relatives.
We are all of us pulled in different directions sometimes.

All we can do
is be there for each other
as best we can.

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9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
e_scapism101 From: e_scapism101 Date: January 13th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor little old ghost!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 13th, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

This was an ouchie poem.
e_scapism101 From: e_scapism101 Date: January 13th, 2013 11:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yes...

I'm comforting myself with visions of ghosts falling in love, getting ghost married, and adopting ghost children (from the influenza epidemic, or on of the many other epidemics of yore), thus making the little old lady ghost a grandmother.
fayanora From: fayanora Date: January 14th, 2013 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
:-(
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: January 14th, 2013 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I hopes he comes down to talk to his mother. Perhaps he's been looking for this girl. (Who may have only recently died of old age herself. And now I'm crying again.)

Edited at 2013-01-14 07:59 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 14th, 2013 08:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

>> I hopes he comes down to talk to his mother. <<

He had better get his butt downstairs eventually or the house will be in an uproar and he'll have everyone including the troll hiking up there to give him a piece of their mind.

>>Perhaps he's been looking for this girl. (Who may have only recently died of old age herself.<<

Not exactly; she's a spirit who helps lost soldiers find their way to the hereafter. She has a knack for getting their attention and coaxing them away from the sense of duty that got them stuck in the first place. Eventually.

>> And now I'm crying again.) <<

Awww ...

*hanky*
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: January 14th, 2013 09:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Well...

Thank you for the hanky.
starcat_jewel From: starcat_jewel Date: January 15th, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
"And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun..."
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 15th, 2013 09:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Exactly that sort of thing.
9 comments or Leave a comment