Amy Gerstler

The Suicide’s Wife
June 9, 2013 Gerstler Amy

The Suicide’s Wife


inhabits an invisible island

of last ditch attempts

and ancient consolations

where geyers belch

thermal vents hiss

messengers of silence arrive


she swam ashore nearly naked

hands scraped raw on coral

bra and panties soaked through

sand in her teeth

she’s no villainess

he loved her stubborn luster

a half written sonata

she slowly approaches

the condition of music


sure they argued sometimes

the word “argue” from latin

meaning to make clear

police ransacked his desk

the note turned up in his pocket

with the letter for his sister

a baseball ticket stub

receipts for two “taco platters”

part of a bookmark

he whose soul was bound with mine


six weeks later she looks great

thin and pearlescent, a statue

of justice sans blindfold

she wears beautiful blouses now

peach, gold, and seedling green

lushness follows destruction


sunset’s lurid tonight

cocktail of too many boozes

she’d like to switch it off

via remote but there’s no

antidote for celestial events


a frantic bat takes a wrong turn

from the attic, veers into the living

room, bounces off walls

a sick flut-thud each time it hits

the suicide’s wife grabs her roasting pan

climbs the kitchen counter to trap it

claps on the lid, then releases

the creature into the trees

where the lawn peters out

where the idea that at death

something is liberated

can flap blackly away

Amy Gerstler has published thirteen books of poems, a children’s book and several collaborative artists books with visual artists. Index of Women, her most recent book of poems, was published by Penguin Random House in 2021. She is currently working on a musical with composer/actor Steve Gunderson.