Hour Twenty Three Missing

Hour Twenty Three
Missing
by Paul Robert Sanford

Body by Rubens
Personality shaped by the suburbs of the valley.
Sweet, bright, with lovely soft childish nasal voice.
College sweetheart, first wife,
divorced when her father died
Unsettled child, guided by her mother
happily humming to herself
playing the piano in her little cottage
I never stopped loving her,
just put up a wall of hurt and anger and feigned indifference
between us to make myself safe.
She died before we were forty
her ashes were scattered over an unknown field
I never attended her memorial or visited her grave.
I wonder how we would have been together in our old age?

3 thoughts on “Hour Twenty Three Missing

  1. So touching, growing more so as different phrases reveal tender details: the soft childish voice, an unsettled child playing piano in a little college, ashes scattered over a field. There are also deeper truths. The childhood sweetheart who died before forty makes for a poignant reality that many can relate to (even if not directly). Also, the question at the end makes me think of my own “What may have been?” This is a touching poem.

  2. Oh my goodness. This is such a moving and poignant poem, Paul. So much to look back on, so much of a shared history – and yet so much to wonder about what might have been since your first wife died so young.
    We do certain things to protect ourselves (that distancing and feigned indifference you comment on) and yet it is the distance which hurts us in the end. There is a lifetime of careful consideration and regret in that last line.

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