Two Widows

By Merle Molofsky

they are not birds,
but women,
with eyes that pick
at worn edges—
today, with sherry and biscuits
they hunt through the afternoon
for the children and husbands
who glutted the years—

they are not birds,
but women,
with nails hard and curved
as beaks,
tapping among crumbs
on the tea tray,
hungry for time—

now they preoccupy themselves
with the view:
the streets, like the future,
held at bay.
The Palisades,
a spill of sunlight
flooding the river,
a prickle of electric light,
vicissitudes of sky.

two women who have seen everything
shred the sunset
with the longing of their gaze,
unravel
the languid folds of dusk,
push back the night
with the bulwark of lamplight,
deflect the mystery of stars
for more sherry, more crumbs
from the feast.

they are not birds,
but women,
who trill
grace notes of praise
for every season,
the blush and fall of every leaf,

the sigh of snow on bare branches,
the hardening,
the thaw—

like the chip of embryonic chick
at the inner shell,
Clara’s nails peck
at the window,
pointing to the night.

“Yes, the view is nice. I like
it all, the quick fire of fall,
the lacework of windows alive
with light,
but spring—
those fat pale buds
ready to tear open at the heart—
you know, Tina, you know
how it is—

that’s when I get furious
at my husband.”


Merle Molofsky, psychoanalyst and poet, serves on the boards of IFPE and NAAP and the editorial board of The Psychoanalytic Review. Articles in The Psychoanalytic Review,
Journal of Religion of Health.

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