The 2River View 24.1 (Fall 2019)

Sarah Anderson

In a Different Life

I draw in a quick breath. He places his glasses on the podium,
            looks up and reads. I think of the way heartache
            distorts as leaded glass.

            I think of the heartache I have caused.  Stop. It’s been
            twenty years—or
He loved her, the girl in Germany. I knew,
            but spent the night with him still on a hard wood floor by a lit fireplace.

Now, still, evening air rustles an oak. Are those trees
            ice-resistant really?

Think of two people in a tent
            who have been up all night, a thunderstorm wild

through them. I will always listen to you. You ache for this.
            There’s a cold and barely discovered quarry. Meet me.

Twenty-Three Years a Widow

His poems took her breath away, waiting
in an envelope for her on the other side
of the world, and it’s as if I remember
my grandmother sweeping the stage
while he played the piano, moments
before they met. To my mother,

who is moving back into her childhood
home, I say, keep, at least in a box,
the chandelier pieces she coveted. She
never imagined she could live without
him. Keep the Cartier pocket watch
she designed for him there

on the mantle. What did she wear
to the premiere of that symphony
he wrote for her?
She called the dog down
the back hill every night as if calling
to people on the shoreline.

Sarah Anderson holds an MFA in poetry from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including The Café Review, december Magazine, North American Review, and Raleigh Review.

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