Kirby Olson

The Widow

February Mist by Shaen Marshall

The widow looks out of her window.
She sees God in her dog.
In the geese she sees the siege
of Carthage
as painted by Tiepolo.
She drinks cranberry juice,
remembers her days as a bachelorette,
when men came calling
bringing lemonade and marmalade.

Then babies threw blocks
down circular staircases.
Doctors injected penicillin.
Cowboys romped in Stetsons.
There were science fairs,
shopping at newsstands,
as presidents were assassinated.
Vietnam fell.
There were shirts to press,
as the presses rolled sheets of news.

Today, sampans glide along the Mekong,
as they have for a thousand years.
The widow remembers 1967 in Saigon,
where she was the naval champion in ping pong.


About the writer:
Kirby Olson studied with Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso in the 1970s at Naropa Institute. He has published a book of poems called Christmas at Rockefeller Center (Word Tech, 2015) and a novel called Temping (Black Heron 2006). Olson is mainly a literary scholar who has published books on Gregory Corso, Andrei Codrescu and other comic writers.

Image: February Mist by Shawn Marshall. Oil on canvas. 36 x 36 inches. 2019. By permission.