• Indelicacy, a new poem by Rosie Schaap

    "Name the thing what the thing is: It won’t kill you."


    At 46 I’m traveling for months, alone.
    Over the hill and on the road!
    Everyone tells me how they’re jealous:
    Lucky you! they cry. Lucky me!

    Lucky me, sure. In essentials I can’t say
    They’re wrong, but: would it be fair
    If being an unemployed, childless widow
    Had no benefits? I ask. That shuts them up.

    When it happened, Lily the fruit-monger
    Thought he had left me. One eyebrow rose,
    One rough, inquisitional crag. Where is.
    Your husband. Haven’t seen. Long time.

    I gave one word: Dead. (He’d left me alright).
    Came out just like that. Better than blubbering
    That he had passed, like a gallstone or as some Jews
    Among WASPs. Or had passed on, like rejection.

    Shut Lily up, too: The most natural utterance.
    Name the thing what the thing is: It won’t kill you.
    My indelicacy, Lily’s gall: Now, I could talk
    About dying forever—except who lives so long?

    Rosie Schaap
    Rosie Schaap
    Rosie Schaap is the author of Drinking With Men: A Memoir, named one of 2013’s best books by Library Journal and National Public Radio. A columnist for The New York Times Magazine from 2011 to 2017, she is currently working on a book about whiskey, and on a poetry collection called Fun City. She teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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