Regrets, for my widower

by Carrie Meadows

            you provided                              a kind of fulfillment
     while I worked for me                                    to a more or lesser degree
            my life often lived singularly                    sometimes incomplete
        with more greed than sacrifice                              the I do a shorthand
                    turning the knob                                  like freedom
            to the wrong door                             or choice
in a row of brighter openings                                                  or promise
           painted doors: red, yellow, blue                    without context
     and black was the color I walked through               hungry
          not once but again                                            without learning to cook pot roast
                       always kicking it closed                         without saying the most important thing
though the dog's tail caught in the hinges                             and the bed remained unmade
                  in my numbness                                   for sleep
           my body freed from winter                                   walking below a continent
     thawed in a hot shower                                            of salt waters where fish gathered
        with warmth trailing the cold                                        to see
     ice jeweled on a windshield                                   or to feel the unfolding of an umbrella
               beneath a gloved hand                            before the latch locked again
     and still no sign of the dog                             when the weather changed
its leash tossed in the basement                              regrettably
                    sink filled with dirty dishes                              my slippery hands
               and mathematics                                                  and honesty
                 you + me = family                         spelling a simple equation:
                                                                                                            you are the lover I loved
                                                                                                            but couldn't be

Carrie Meadows is winner of the Poetry Society of Virginia Award sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, and her work has been nominated for the upcoming edition of Best New Poets. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The New River Journal, Anti-, and Plainsongs.