Friday, February 6, 2015

Betty Adcock's 'Widow Poems' -- 'conversations shredding in the wind'

Almost four years ago, Raleigh poet Betty Adcock lost her long-time husband, Don, a jazz musician. His death has changed her life, of course, and over the ensuing months, the poems began to come. Poems, she says, that were "hard to write, hard to live through," and the book, she says, "has changed her, too. I care much less for some things and much more for other things than I used to."
Now her chapbook "Widow Poems" (Jacar Press), $12.95) from which the following is taken.

The Widow's House

seems to be coming apart -- pieces
of wall, snatches of a rug, chair-rungs,
shingles, plumbing, lamps and doorknobs.
Glass shatters from rows of still-framed 
faces. The mirrors are dusking over,
no longer disclosing.

                              Everything floats
as if gravity has left the place. It's not
violent; it is a loosening, a soundless
disengagement. Even her body has become 
otherwise, flesh that can no longer
recognize itself.

Perhaps it is she who has gone to ash,
gone to ground and the dark.
She has asked so hard for him,
crying out in the night, weeping into
pots on the stove, roses in the yard.

Perhaps she is the ghost 
in the house they built dissolving,
turning now as if in the grip of a slowed
tornado, air full of what could be
confetti in some kind of decelerating
celebration: music, books, conversations
shredding in the wind that memory
always becomes -- unfastened, recasting,
disheveling as the end of lovemaking.
She sits on a splintered floor
surrounded by the done-for.

Betty Adcock is the author of six collections of poetry from LSU Press. She has taught for many years at Meredith College in Raleigh and most recently at the low-residency Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers in Swannanoa, N.C. To order the book: