Uh-oh by Fred Longworth

I knew a woman
who had a dozen husbands.
They all passed away under what most of us
would call suspicious circumstances.

You know how it goes. Some chemical
that the body metabolizes in a heartbeat,
that coincidentally shuts down heartbeats.

Her denying everything. Her saying
that all of them lived the good life.
After all, what should it profit a man
to gain his health and forfeit life's pleasures?

When I knew her, she kept their ashes
in an egg carton. She liked to open it up
and lay it on the kitchen table.

One by one, she'd spoon their ashes
onto a sheet of aluminum foil, then tell stories
about each husband. Sergio, an Olympic swimmer
who tried to save Natalie Wood from drowning.

Archie, who free-hand rock-climbed up the face
of Half Dome. Michael, a police captain,
who knew where Jimmy Hoffa was buried.

One time I sneezed just as she was beginning
the story about Harry. His legacy scattered
across the linoleum floor.

I stood to go looking for the broom.
I remember how she smiled, and said:
"We can sweep him up later. Would you like
a glass of wine?"
Fred Longworth is a writer based in San Diego, California.
Bay Laurel  /  Volume 2, Issue 1  /  Spring 2013