Judith Waller Carroll, “Letter to My Husband, Away for the Weekend”

Judith Waller Carroll’s latest poetry collection, Ordinary Splendor, was published in April 2022 by MoonPath Press. She is also the author of What You Saw and Still Remember, a runner-up for the 2017 Main Street Rag Poetry Award; The Consolation of Roses, winner of the 2015 Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press Poetry Prize; and Walking in Early September (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, published in numerous journals and anthologies, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

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Letter to My Husband, Away for the Weekend

Fifty-two years and very few separations.
Perhaps that’s why it feels like you’re still here,
working upstairs at your computer

or reading in the chair by the window
while I putter in the kitchen,
procrastinate paying the bills.

Last night it felt strange to lie in our bed alone,
but I slept well and only missed you
in that hazy hour before dawn,

our customary snuggle
as we wait for the house to warm up,
your sleepy voice telling me your dream.

Is this what grief feels like?

The absent way I stop by your chair as if you were in it.
The same small stab of surprise
each time I find it empty.


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