3

Linda Muscatelli

Always the bridesmaid…
I never could get a man
to ask the right questions
or make a declarative statement
about his feelings for me

But your husbands were willing
when I let them know I was lonely
Everything you all had,
a home, your cars and kids
I had only in my dreams

Dreams that ended
That dead July evening
The Pick and Shovel burned down
I saw the flicker of flames
in my rented room

Where I lie down at last
a pint of peach brandy
the rest of the tranquilizers
orange light danced on the ceiling
like my torment to come

At my funeral
none of you, or your men
men who’d wept in my arms
about the burdens they bore
as much as shed a tear

Bret