Words Overheard while Waiting
“Just one of those things,” an old woman whispers,
“my husband gone and me alone with all the grand
kids.” “Was it four years ago?” her friend says.
I remember his name, but I forget his face.”
“I’ll cope somehow, and the fourteen-year old,
with her belly starting to swell.” Silence wraps
a warning scarf around their flapping mouths.
Lives and worlds end and begin. Back turned
to their words, I listen to them talk. They chatter
about friends, family, acquaintances, giving
intimate details of childlessness from cancers
and sudden sicknesses, all laid out before me,
willy-nilly, to root and grow in my listening mind.
Never will I put a face to the girls with breast cancer,
the overweight women with diabetes, the old men
with their heart attacks, strokes, and damaged brains.
Fine dust dances in a sun ray. Floating motes,
my lost loves, buried before their proper time.