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 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 www.sharonlaskmunson.com