Leslie Muzingo, US




Free Verse


The Widows of Joe Cain


On the Sunday before Mardi gras,
Joe Cain's widows
parade to the cemetery
with black roses in their hands.

Black antebellum skirts sway as they march
black feathers on black bonnets bob upright
but each pair of eyes observes her own black shoes.

A saxophone mourns
soon the cemetery gates are swarmed with revelers
hoping to catch a rosary - to snatch a glimpse of an identity
behind the veil.

The widows ignore the mob
until some trouble-causer whispers, "I know he loved YOU
And twenty black bonnets bounce back revealing twenty sly

Grief expelled and duty done,
Joe Cain's widows
parade out of the cemetery
sip some champagne
and toast their lost love, dead now over a hundred years.


Joe Cain Day falls on Valentine's Day this year, February 14, 2010. That fact, and the widows' devotion to Joe, seemed to make this appropriate to share despite the fact that it isn't a true Valentine's Day poem.









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