The Lost Husband
I lost my husband
but unlike a cellphone
or a pair of glasses
I won't find him.
he shows up:
in my daughter's sweetness,
or my son's competitiveness.
He is missing; he won't be recovered
until I stand in the garage to ready the bikes
water the plants inside the house
or tackle the weeds with gloves and clippers.
I will never again live with his patience, his understanding
except for when I use
the good deal he left to me,
finally just keep my mouth shut,
choose kindness, be an optimist.
Never again will I see him
proud on Damen Avenue
expect for in my repetitive dreams
arising in the building where he invested his hope
where our niece lives now,
where we lived once, where we got married,
where I try to keep the dream alive,
even when it scares me
when I don't understand why I am alone there.
He died at the Evanston Hospital
which is just down the street from our house.
Every time I go there
for an appointment, or to visit the sick,
or remember how I gave birth to our children there
he wavers and shimmers
like a ghost, here and gone.
He will be absent at graduations, weddings,
vacations, family meals, health scares, proud moments,
storms, and floods.
Then I will say or someone will think
that you should be here, and there you are.
In Santa Fe once we fell in love
with a painting we didn't buy.
I can still see it hanging over our mantel
where I still admire it
where it makes us happy,
where it never was,
where it never will be again.