Jane’s husband is dead on arrival,
head-on collision. Empathetic murmurs begin.
She could have been working in ER today
but called in sick. I see colleagues scurry around
gathering shiny tidbits. Clear day, dry roads,
no rubber scars from slamming breaks. New
theories collect. Did he scream “I’ll teach
the bitch” when he veered hard left?
Angular comments resurrect
when Sue remarries one year later.
After my husband’s death, I know
the same colleagues gather
in two’s and three’s, lean
over steaming cups of black coffee,
full-bodied rumours soaking through
the hospital like the stain from a glass
of merlot toppled on crisp white linen.
“She’d just left him, so messy. Had to
kick down the door. Anyone know cause of death?”
A decade later, my dreams gush these
brackish memories with your fresh love.
Your brass bed, lodged on the border
between scrub grass and sand, glitters
with the caress of morning sun.
The stench of beached seaweed drifts by as seagulls
swoop up and down, carousel creatures released,
the ha-ha-ha of their call mocking me.
There’s warmth along my back. I turn to embrace
the one beside me, shrouded in white sheets.
Her deceased husband? Mine? You? An amalgam
of all three. As I struggle to untangle myself,
rain starts to drum away the shoal beneath brass feet.
I reach for a sea shell. Into its cochlea I confess
“ I only wanted space to live”
before my heart pounds me awake

First appearing in Ibis Head Review Vol.3 Issue 2 January 2018