A ROOMFUL OF WIDOWS
Patrick Ryan Frank
No one understands how hard it is
to find a veil these days. Ask the widows
where they got theirs and they’ll just shake their heads.
You have to find out for yourself. Ask
the widows anything and they’ll just smile
or tell a story: how they used to drink
too many daiquiris on weekends, how
they used to think that black was thinning, but now —
The room is full of interruptions. They hold
each others’ hands, admire each others’ pearls.
They finger each others’ taffeta and lace.
And when they move, they make a noise like a broom
being pulled across a beach-house floor.
And when they laugh — more often than you’d think —
it sounds like wind chimes falling to the ground.
And they keep hanging them back up again.
Patrick Ryan Frank is the author of How the Losers Love What's Lost, which won the
2010 Intro Prize from Four Way Books; and The Opposite of People, to be published
by Four Way Books in the fall of 2015. He was recently a Fulbright Fellow to Iceland.
For more information, go to patrickryanfrank.com.
About his poems: There are some people who are so fully some certain
thing—gambler, widow, etc.—that the world becomes saturated with it,
becomes an extra layer of that condition. I’m not one of those people, which
is undoubtedly for the best, but I am fascinated by that strange lens through
which one sees everywhere and in everything oneself.