The solitude of widowhood, they think,
is pyre that never bows then dies, a night
of vigils, stretched-out sighs, a lisp to air,
a sudden twitch of eyes, a knob, a latch,
a whiff of shoulder sweat, routine cologne,
devoted ears to rustling leaves, a plea.

The hush of orphanhood, I must agree,
is jaundiced will to breathe when all alone,
a nibbled lip, a fly too looped to catch,
a mask of chalk, a sight ahead, a prayer
a battered mind forgets, in streets, a blight,
an urchin strollers skirt in haste, a stink.

This mirthless land is calling you, they scream;
this asphalt dust on skin should go, I dream.