He brings the spoonful of Quaker Oats to his lips; his hand trembles
but the oats stick to the spoon. His mind quivers and nothing sticks.
A woman smiles up at him from a photo on the front page of the morning
paper. He thinks of his wife, the way she tucked her hair behind her left ear,
like the woman in the photo. He can barely picture her any more. His mind
offers snapshots of the life he’s lived: a green metal swing-set he shared
with his sister, the arc of waves over a long white beach, a fallen friend’s face
shaded by a muddied helmet. A white cat – or was it grey? A piano and a flute.
A blue floral sofa he never liked. Bacon, port, strawberry pie. And sometimes
he can feel his wife’s hand in his – the small fingers with their neatly trimmed
nails, the wide gold band that wouldn’t come off over aging knobby knuckles,
the long lifeline (a lie, he reckons: she should have outlived him by years).
Sometimes he hears her laughter in his dreams. But he cannot recall much
about her face – his mind is a broken camera. Still, he always loved that hair
behind her ear.
This poem was first published in the fall 2012 issue of Drunken Boat.
For more Tuesday Poems, go here.