"Cree Finery" by Howard Terpning, original painting on paper, May 1990

click to enlarge

At her kitchen table
sharing tea
in the pale morning
I ask the widow,
How long were you married?
And she replies,
I am married.
Though my husband died twelve years ago
he is still,
as he was for eighteen years
before that,
my husband.

I can see in her eyes
and in the way her hand reaches
for the cream
that it is true.
And I know
last night,
alone in her bed
as she slipped across the borderland
she felt him curled around her
the soft hair of his chest
against her thin back
his strong thighs
along the curve of her aging buttocks
his wide fingers
gently cupping her softly sagging breast.

It is, as it has always been.
The separation
of years
or even worlds
dull their ache for each other.

her watery blue eyes
watch my face
as my fingers
trace the sun’s patterns
on the plastic tablecloth.

I long for a great love.

Copyright © 1995 Oriah Mountain Dreamer • All rights reserved.
Selection from DREAMS OF DESIRE (Mountain Dreaming, 1995, out of print).
Painting: “Cree Finery” by Howard Terpning, Greenwich Workshop, original painting on paper, May 1990.