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 nine 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.
Sharon reads "The New Woman":
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Sharon confesses: "Out to lunch with friends, one woman told a story she had overheard. After a few shocked responses, the conversation turned quite comical, ending in a good serving of droll mixed with side-splitting laughter. The poem wrote itself in my head all the way home."