“After Mother Dies, Most Men Need a Lover” by Robert Carr

Robert Carr


Father’s lover sits
on the paisley sofa
where my mother

rested before she went
to bed and died.
It’s been fourteen years

since the water ran,
since my mother refused
to get out of the shower

because hot water
felt so good.
In the intervening years

my father’s lover has lost
her mind. She says
the most beautiful things.

Today she said,
I know I love you,
but I’ve forgotten your name.

from Rattle #61, Fall 2018


Robert Carr: “In January of 2019, my father will turn 90. At the Thanksgiving dinner table this year he talked about his lover, Rosemary, who was my mother’s best friend before she died in 2003. Rosemary has developed slowly progressing dementia over the past several years and, with sadness and great affection, he shared the story of this poem including Rosemary’s statement. This story reminded me of the power in human connection—the courage that’s sitting at our own table.” (web)

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