He outlived her by twenty-three years,
yet they remain nestled together in the earth.
I can’t help but wonder if he spent
those years alone, stuck in a daughter’s
kitchen with obnoxious grandchildren
and great-grandchildren weaving around
his knobbed knees and kitchen table.
I wonder if he had other lovers,
later in life, the kind that meet late
at movies or intertwine hands on park
benches, secret affairs he kept from
Did he tell Loretta his secrets?
Ask her for forgiveness?
Come to grey marker after Sunday mass
to confess the sins he held in his heart?
Did he talk about her on the last days,
walk an 84-year-old crooked gait,
mistake the silhouette of his daughter
over the kitchen sink as long
Did he call her her mother’s name
without even realizing the mistake
and did he wake to a daughter’s sharp glance
before walking back to the porch to slump
on front bench in final silence?
“Melquiades and Loretta” is previously published in Graveyard Collection (2015).