Up and down the small streets, in which
no two houses are exactly
alike, widows of all ages
sit alone playing solitaire,
or knitting, or sometimes baking,
left in the big, empty houses.

Here are Mrs. Montgomery,
Mrs. Pilching, Mrs. Wolf, and
Mrs. Pelletier, all at once-
in a section of nine houses,
four widows. Sometimes they have bridge,
including either lunch or tea.

In the summer, separately,
widows spend a month in hotels
in New Hampshire, or sometimes Maine,
but never in Massachusetts.
In the winter, or some winters,
some of them go to Florida.

Book clubs, television, and ways
to supplement their small incomes
keep them busy. It is not a
bad life, they say, for there are so
many left like you, though no two
widows are exactly alike.

Donald Hall | Old and New Poems, 1990

Leslie Sheryll | Hannah