War Widow

Posted: April 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

War Widow

By Chris Abani

The telephone never rings. Still

you pick it up, smile into the static,

the breath of those you’ve loved; long dead.

 

The Leaf you pick from the fall

rises and dips away with every ridge.

Fingers stiff from time, you trace.

 

Staring off into a distance limned

by cataracts and other collected debris,

you have forgotten none of the long-ago joy

of an ice-cream truck and its summer song.

 

Between the paving stones;

between tea, a cup, and the sound

of you pouring;

between the time you woke that morning

and the time when the letter came,

a tired sorrow: like an old flagellant

able only to tease with a weak sting.

 

Riding the elevator all day,

floor after floor after floor,

each stop some small victory whittled

from the hard stone of death, you smile.

They used to write epics about moments like this.

 

This poem is written from a lady who lost her husband to war’s perspective. She writes of their memories and joyful moments.

 

The first part of the poem that I liked was:

“The telephone never rings. Still

you pick it up,” 

Here he (in a widow’s perspective) is talking about how she remembers him picking up the phone and wishes he still would even though she knows in reality, he’s dead.

Another part I liked goes like:

 

“Staring off into a distance limned

by cataracts and other collected debris,

you have forgotten none of the long-ago joy

of an ice-cream truck and its summer song.”

Here she’s talking about the joy’s her husband enjoyed when not fighting in the war. How even though he’s dead, the things he enjoyed are still there and will not be forgotten.

 

And finally, I like:

“from the hard stone of death, you smile.

They used to write epics about moments like this.”

The part that says “from the hard stone of death, you smile” is pretty much saying even from your grave, you are still the same happy, joyful person. And the second part, “They used to write epics about moments like this.” is pretty much saying that it was a happily ever after type of story since they would write epics (stories about heroes) about. This way she is also calling him a hero, because rightfully so, soldiers are heroes.

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