“Second Wife” by Judith Tate O’Brien

Judith Tate O’Brien

SECOND WIFE

I keep drawing the first
one from the cemetery
into the house
and pose her
perfect as a mannequin
at the kitchen table
where, chin resting
on a long-fingered hand,
she surveys
the bran muffins
and finds them crumbly.
I imagine her coming
to their bed
smooth-bodied.
I arrive bone tired,
half a century
etched in my flesh.
She gave him
babies. I, a notebook
filled with poems.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004

_________

Judith Tate O’Brien: “When I was in 10th grade, the visiting Catholic School Superintendent, a stern priest, recited Francis Thompson’s The Hound of Heaven, stepping the cadence across our classroom floor—and I was moved to tears. To think that language could soften so hard a man! I became a convert to poetry. That’s why I write.”

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