The New Woman 

She telephones, speaks

of her husband’s best friend

arriving at their door with his new woman,

three months after his wife’s death.

The revelation explodes through the air

as she whispers details,

while seven hundred miles away

I lower my voice in accordance

collaborating on what is acceptable

after a forty-year marriage,

mumbling about decency.

Of course it’s ourselves we’re thinking of,

tossing out numbers,

the length of time a man should wait

when a homemade casserole is hand delivered

or pink straps slip from pale plump shoulders.

We dither between six or twelve months,

agreeing that a least at year should pass

before he thinks of a successor

plotting that very night

to have serious discussions at our own kitchen tables,

probably ruining two very good dinners

and if the conversations

don’t lead to satisfactory conclusions

we’ll confer again,

discuss large caliber handguns,

razor-edged hunting knives,

a bit of arsenic in steel-cut oats.

Originally published in The Five Two

A Woman Wouldn’t Do It That Way

A man would use a forty-five,

splatter blood on walls, carpets,

leave smears and splotches

for someone else to clean up.

A woman would seldom leave disorder.

She might shower first,

slip on a fresh nightgown,

swallow pills with something sweet

to mask the taste,

brush her teeth,

slide between fresh-smelling sheets

letting the lightness of down

shepherd her into oblivion.

Or she might bundle up

on a cold snowy night,

head to the river, to a spot

where the ice is thin and brittle

and dark waters entice—tread carefully

until she launches herself

softening the heartache

for those left behind

to speak softly of


such a tragic accident.

Originally published in Shooter Magazine

Sharon Lask Munson is a retired teacher, poet, old movie enthusiast, lover of road trips—with many published poems, two chapbooks, and two full-length books of poetry. She says many things motivate her to write: a mood, a memory, the smell of cooking, burning leaves, a windy day, rain, fog, something observed or overheard—and of course, imagination. She lives and writes in Eugene, Oregon