Indelicacy, a new poem by Rosie Schaap

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

By  Rosie Schaap

Indelicacy

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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