"After the Service, the Widow Considers the Etymology of the Word Salary"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
April 14 2009 6:45 AM

"After the Service, the Widow Considers the Etymology of the Word Salary"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear J. Allyn Rosser read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes..

This morning began like anyone's:
coffee.  Mine a bitter roast
too weak for the daytime
that keeps me up half the night. 

When I got where there was
no point really in going,
I had to hold every hand
but the one.

After negatives against
a backlight of Before
I feel I am missing
the correct chemical.

Back home, I liven things up
by microwaving popcorn:
an edible jazz I feed to the trash
for our walk to the curb.

At the end of the day, one shadow
seems made of a deeper gray:
have I somehow earned this
by refusing for years to fear it?

Here at last my martini
embalming its hollowed olive,
and, as apparently originally intended,
salt for my salary, sighs for my meat.

.

J. Allyn Rosser teaches at Ohio University and is the author of Foiled Again. She teaches at Ohio University, where she edits New Ohio Review.

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