Motherhood Literature + Art

Skip Renker – A Widow

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Skip Renker


A Widow

Honeymooning near the rim of a volcano,
who wouldn’t catch fire?

She laughed when he re-phrased St. Augustine:
“Better to marry and to burn.”

She stopped smoking.
He didn’t.

In restaurants, diners at other
tables began to do all the talking.

Their sweetest child
grew into a smoldering adult.

They moved a thousand miles from the ocean.
She dreamed of rigging, the crow’s nest, a cavernous hold.

A retirement cruise, deck chairs, brilliant stars—
they rubbed and warmed each others’ hands.

Dying, remembering the one necklace he ever
gave her, he whispered “Beads…beads…”

She dreams of her mother and father
backing away across a green field.

She wakes to his framed photograph
on the nightstand, next to the heirloom ashtray.

Sometimes she gazes.
Sometimes she rolls away.


F.W. “Skip” Renker has recent poems in Presence, Leaping Clear, and The Awakenings Review, and poems in the Atlanta Review, Poetry Midwest, and Passages North anthologies.  He has a Pushcart nomination.  His books are Birds of Passage (Delta Press), Sifting the Visible (Mayapple Press), and Bearing the Cast (St. Julian Press).  He lives with his wife Julia Fogarty in the beautiful lakefront town of Petoskey, Michigan.


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