Wednesday, November 21, 2007


November 21, 2003

They fist the door with their 2am burden
of ill news, two men and a woman —
black, white, clergy, police. Clipboards. Bible.
I know their mission before they speak,
their faces dreading the apologies
for which they bear no blame.

Intimate strangers,
they hunker beside me on the couch,
knowing before me, before my children,
that my husband departed
the scene zipped dead into a sack,
spinal cord transected, right lung punctured.

I will not recall their names,
or whether, roused by duty,
they left a sleeping household
much like mine; the only difference
being that moment’s hesitation
in the turn of the wheel, foot on the brake.


  1. After my Grandma died, a police officer came and stayed quietly in the living room for the duration that her body remained in the house. Such a bizaar thing to have a stranger in the middle of such intimate emotions, but he was respectful and kind, and in quick time became just another sympathetic visitor as far as I was concerned. Your poem brings up the interesting idea that there are times when humans, known or strange, can relate on a level that surpasses the formalities of previous relation. Anyhow, I enjoyed your poem, thanks for posting.