“Skinny Old Man with Shopping Cart” by Art Schwartz

Art Schwartz


Skinny old man, you concave sliver,
pushing your shopping cart down the street,
where’s the old woman, short time ago
whose hand you held and halved your woe,

One hand on the upright empty cart,
the other tight with her hand in it,
leaning against the rain or snow,
you and the woman who halved your woe.

Which scarves tied neatly around your heads,
and slowly wheeling that wobbly cart;
but now you’re alone and I want to know,
where is the woman who halved your woe?

I’d ask, if I knew you well enough,
all about your marvelous gift, and
pester you until you’d show
how you doubled yourself and halved your woe,

And tell me about the old woman, I’d say,
and tell me what you are thinking now,
wheeling the cart with two hands as though
an empty cart can halve your woe.

from Rattle #41, Fall 2013
Tribute to Single Parent Poets


Art Schwartz: “Poetry seems to be the only way to accommodate my thoughts and experiences. Without poetry, they would be struggling inside me, pressing me for an outlet. My wife died leaving me the sole parent of two daughters.”

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