Widow’s Walk, Somewhere Inland

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 90th birthday.

z 05-27-22
Linda Pastan
b. 1932

This landlocked house should grace a harbor:
its widow’s walk of grey pickets
surveys an inland sea
of grass; wind
breaks like surf against
its rough shingles.

In summer the two grown sons
tie up here for a while.
The daughter with her mermaid hair
sits on a rock: her legs
will soon be long enough
to carry her away.

Sometimes the woman
lies awake
watching the fireflies bobbing
like ship’s lights, the bats
with their strict radar
patrolling the dark.

The man will leave too,
one way or another,
sufficient as an old snail
carrying his small house
on his back.
She will remain, pacing

the widow’s walk.
At dusk she’ll pick the milky flowers
that grow by the porch stair;
she’ll place them in the window,
each polished petal a star
for someone to steer home by.

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