Ahab’s Widow and Two Songs, 2 poems by J. R. Solonche

Photo of house at dusk
Photo by Jan Jakub Nanista on Unsplash
Ahab’s Widow

I wait for him as every whaler’s wife.
I write him letters every day.
I tell him how he grows bigger and stronger.

I tell him of his first words and of his first walk on his own.
I write, “What a lovely little pip he is.”
I write, “I call him that sometimes, instead of Malcolm.”

I write, “Rachel says he’s often mischievous.”
I write, “Come home to us safely.”
At dusk, as the sun goes down

behind the white
clapboard house and the elms’ shadows
reach out across the lawn to meet the ocean’s lip,

I climb the stairs to pace the widow’s -walk.
I fold my hands on the rail and pray
and blow a kiss out to sea,

then go inside to kiss the boy good-night.
I sleep in a bed wider than oceans.
I dream on sheets whiter than wedding gowns.


Two Songs

My neighbor’s adult son
sits on the porch. He is
singing. He is autistic.
I wave to him. He sees me
and waves back without
pausing his singing. I do not
understand the words. He
doesn’t either, Not those
words of that song, but the
other words of that other song.
It is the poem I have wanted
to write all my life, the poem
whose words you will not
understand, the poem you will,
nevertheless, sing by heart.

J.R. Solonche
Award and twice-nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, J. R. Solonche is the author of twenty-six books of poetry and coauthor of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley.

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