Poetry First Runner-up: Questions, 1969

Huge and unembarrassed, my friend
floated like a Buddha in the small pool.
I drank iced tea, graded
chlorine-splashed papers
on The Mayor of Casterbridge.

When she had her baby
on a bed covered with a shower curtain,
I did what I was told, sealed
the placenta in a plastic bag,
stashed it in the freezer.

Life was breathless in its daring
or boring in its routine. Newly married,
I loved a man so desperate
for his young son back east
he cried in my arms.

I wanted to miss someone
that much. I quit my job,
sold my yellow Mustang,
divvied up the wedding gifts,
some of them unopened.

Had I ever mourned my father?
Did she plant the placenta under a tree?
How much can you miss
a husband you so easily walked out on?

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