David Shumate

August 15, 2011 Shumate David



You cannot consider yourself a widow just because the full moon has gone

down and now you feel alone. Or because the vendors in the market no

longer whistle when you pass. Even if your husband is already half dead

inside, you’re not entitled to dress perpetually in black. Protocol must be

followed. Or the true widows will object to the mayor that some charlatan

is out and about. Best to be true to who you are. Shoulder your losses one

by one. Don’t resort to drama. Let your wardrobe go gradually from

green and yellow to gray. In the meantime, stop making a hobby of

funerals. Stop sending yourself a dozen gladioli every day. And when

your husband asks if you would mind passing the pepper, don’t pretend

he’s telephoning from deep within his grave.

David Shumate is the author of three books of prose poetry, High Water Mark (2004), The Floating Bridge (2008), and Kimonos in the Closet (2013), all published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. His poetry has also been anthologized in The Best American Poetry and elsewhere.  He lives in Zionsville, Indiana, and teaches at Marian University.