The Widow at Solstice


She sits and sips a tiny tumbler of Zinfandel one-quarter water
I ask, “Would you like to see my Sierra Club calendar?”


Like a traveler lost in a map, she drifts in the months gone by
turning the pages over and over, January through December


She drinks a spot of whiskey one-quarter water
gazes at flamingos in February, leopards in March, harp seals, and manatee
then she raises her head and says brightly
even cheerfully with considerable animation


Ala bebo ala bibo
Ala bebo bibo bum
Bum get a rat trap
Bigger than a cat trap
Ala bebo ala bibo
Ala bebo bibo bum


I smile. This one is new.


Together, we look at the month of December and she asks,
“When is Christmas, and what was the day my husband died?”


Today is the winter solstice and I explain the difference,

Solstice. Equinox. She nods and says,
“Oh yes, that’s sensible. After the solstice, the days get longer
and the light begins to return.