I am hesitant to say much about this week’s poem. Its spare lines sizzle with loss and already say so much on their own. Though I like to talk about poems – why and how they work and what they can teach us – I also know that too often we try to explain a poem, to say what it is “about.” Many poems, like this one, just ask to be read out loud a few times so that they can work on us. I don’t know what it is like to deal with the death of a beloved, but I imagine it is something like this poem.

Sarah Kilch Gaffney lives in central Maine with her daughter and is a writer, brain injury advocate and homemade-caramel aficionado. She has written prose and poems about the death of her husband at age 31 from a brain tumor.

Yes, that

By Sarah Kilch Gaffney

I was reading Chekhov

while you were dying.


Everyone keeps

reminding me

I am alone,

so to remember

to lock the door.

I dream of


losing my shoes.

Last night,

the cat chewed

the back legs

off of a wood frog,

left it on the deck,

alive and quivering.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. This column is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2016 Sarah Kilch Gaffney. It appears here by permission of the author.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: