Poem – C K Stead

The Widow Will Not Be Returning


The widow across the street
has been taken to live

with her family, and later
perhaps to a hospice.

Last week I was called to
witness her will. Now Rufus

her little dog has gone to
friends in Entrican Ave,

her neat blue Hyundai is parked
unused in the street, and

her pohutukawa
taller by these forty years

are assuming the scarlet
mantle of another

December. The end of an
era, we say to one

another uneasily in
Tohunga Crescent.

In the Bay the tide
insinuates among mangroves

and goes again without a
word – as it did before

Cook, as it did before
Kupe. The blue heron lifts

itself skyward on elegant
wings and nothing’s changed

except, it seems, the widow
will not be returning.

 C K Stead

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