The Widow’s Elegy

A poem for Wednesday

At the funeral, the widow hands out
onion-skin sheets scrawled with
the poem she calls “My favorite
poem he wrote.” It is an inside
joke, but this is the nature
of mourning. No one is there
to get it. She has no answer
to the why of it—“Why this
poem?”—except to say, “Look
how narrowly it falls down
the page. You can tell
it is all spirit.” Said
with a tremor in her voice,
her face netted in a black
veil and her most elegant
hat—such sumptuous
beauty and economy—
it becomes the most
beautiful elegy for him.
She will never read out the lines.
That would be a betrayal.