Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Outside

The dead thing mashed into the street
the crows are squabbling over isn't
her, nor are their raucous squawks
the quiet cawing from her throat
those final hours she couldn't speak.
But the racket irks him.
It seems a cruel intrusion into grief
so mute it will never be expressed
no matter how loud or long the wailing
he might do. Nor could there be a word
that won't debase it, no matter
how kind or who it comes from.
She knew how much he loved her.
That must be his consolation
when he must talk to buy necessities.
Every place will be a place without her.
What people will see when they see him
pushing a shopping cart or fetching mail
is just a neatly dressed polite old man. 

Credit


From New and Selected Poems by Michael Ryan. Copyright © 2004 by Michael Ryan. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.

Author


Michael Ryan

Born in 1946, the poet Michael Ryan's works have been selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

Date Published: 2004-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/outside