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The Widows' Handbook

Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival

Jacqueline Lapidus, Lise Menn

Publication Year: 2014

The Widows’ Handbook is the first anthology of poems by contemporary widows, many of whom have written their way out of solitude and despair, distilling their strongest feelings into poetry or memoir. This stirring collection celebrates the strategies widows learn and the resources they muster to deal with people, living space, possessions, social life, and especially themselves, once shock has turned to the realization that nothing will ever be the same. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says in her foreword, losing one’s partner is “a loss like no other.”

The Widows’ Handbook is a collection of poetry from 87 American women of all ages, legally married or not, straight and gay, whose partners or spouses have died. Some of the poets are already published widely—including more than a dozen prizewinners, four Pushcart nominees, and two regional poets laureate. Others are not as well known, and some appear in print for the first time here. With courage and wry humor, these women encounter insidious depression, poignant memories, bureaucratic nonsense, unfamiliar hardware, well-intentioned but thoughtless remarks, demanding work, spiritual revelation, and unexpected lust, navigating new relationships in the uncertain legacy of sexual liberation. They write frankly about being paralyzed and about going forward. Their poems are honest, beautiful, and accessible.

Only poetry can speak such difficult truths and incite such intense empathy. While both men and women understand the bewilderment, solitude, and change of status thrust upon the widowed, women suffer a particular social demotion and isolation. Anyone who has lost a loved one or is involved in helping the bereaved will be able to relate to the experiences conveyed in The Widows’ Handbook.

Published by: The Kent State University Press

Praise, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. v-xvi

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Foreword

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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pp. xvii-xviii

Death of one’s life partner is a loss like no other. Many who have suffered the loss have no words to convey their grief, their doubts about their ability to carry on alone, and their hopes for a future strengthened by the love that caused them to appreciate their own worth...

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Introduction

Jacqueline Lapidus & Lise Menn

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pp. xix-xx

We are proud to present the first anthology ever of poems by widows: women old and young, legally married or not, straight or gay, whose partners or spouses have died. The title of this book is only partly ironic: few songs, stories, or legends show us how to behave and survive as contemporary widows, our status often diminished as single women in a coupled society...

Widows

Jacqueline Lapidus

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pp. 1-4

I. Bereft, Mourning

Cross-Country Lines

Jane Hayman

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pp. 7

Afterword

Jane Hayman

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pp. 8

Vigil

Patricia Wellingham-Jones

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pp. 9-10

Falling

Maureen Tolman Flannery

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pp. 11

Threshold

Ann Sinclair

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pp. 12

Ironing at Dawn

Cooper Gallegos

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pp. 13-14

Widow Mother

Lucia May

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pp. 15

I Love the Vet

Ruth S. Rothstein

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pp. 16

Cemetery Haiku

Ruth S. Rothstein

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pp. 17

Is He Saved?

Carolyn Stephens

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pp. 18

Paradise

Tess Gallagher

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pp. 19

Wake

Tess Gallagher

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pp. 20

The Idea of Skin

Katherine J. Williams

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pp. 21

Salvage

Jessica de Koninck

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pp. 22-23

The Golem

Jessica de Koninck

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pp. 24

Cindered

P. C. Moorehead

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pp. 25

Almost a Full Moon

Christine Silverstein

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pp. 26

Solving an Astronomy Problem

Lise Menn

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pp. 27

March Ninth

Lise Menn

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pp. 28

Natural Disaster

Jacqueline Lapidus

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pp. 29

What Happened After

Jacqueline Lapidus

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pp. 30-31

Widow’s Litany

Rosalind Kaliden

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pp. 32

Widow Laments at the Ice Gate

Helen Ruggieri

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pp. 33-34

Too Much Life

Iris Litt

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pp. 35

In the Rain

Patricia L. Goodman

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pp. 36

Valentine’s Day

Anne Cairns Federlein

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pp. 37-38

My Husband’s Bones

Joanne Seltzer

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pp. 39

Learn to Love the Trees

Ann McGovern

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pp. 40

Remorse

Ellen Peckham

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pp. 41

i am sure

Carolyn Stephens

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pp. 42-43

Bereaved

Katharyn Howd Machan

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pp. 44

This product is licensed to Lizand Paul von Transehe

Elizabeth von Transehe

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pp. 45

Boats

Diana O’Hehir

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pp. 46-47

Thirty Years

Diana O’Hehir

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pp. 48-49

The Widow of Few Tears

Barbara L. Greenberg

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pp. 50

Some Kind of Widow

Bonnie Lovell

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pp. 51-52

With friends like these…

Jacqueline Lapidus

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pp. 53

To My Well-Meaning Friend

Ruth S. Rothstein

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pp. 54

Ashes

Kristine Shorey

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pp. 55-56

The Widow Takes Delivery of His Asheson Beacon Hill

Gail Gilliland

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pp. 57

don’t

Seren Fargo

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pp. 58

Refractory

Carol Tufts

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pp. 59

Counterpoise

Carol Tufts

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pp. 60

Cremains

Carol Tufts

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pp. 61

the sun holds no sway

Elizabeth Page Roberts

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pp. 62-63

How Could I

Patricia Savage

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pp. 64

Wonderland

Gail Braune Comorat

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pp. 65

Do You See What I See?

Charlotte Cox

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pp. 66-67

When one door closes

“M”

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pp. 68

Shoes brought me to this place

“M”

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pp. 69-70

Mourning

Jacqueline Lapidus

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pp. 71

Grief Becomes Me

Donna Hilbert

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pp. 72

Lesson

Donna Hilbert

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pp. 73

Secret Society

Alison Keeler Carrillo

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pp. 74-76

A Widow Learns

Lenore McComas Coberly

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pp. 77-78

II. Memories, Ghosts, Dreams

Memorial Day

Christine Silverstein

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pp. 81-82

Poignant

Judy Bebelaar

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pp. 83-84

Snapshot

Barbara Bald

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pp. 85-86

Memory Foam

Pat Parnell

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pp. 87

Flashback

Phyllis Wax

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pp. 88

Departing

Patricia Savage

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pp. 89-90

death anniversary, and: spring cleaning

Seren Fargo

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pp. 91

Feeling the Hollowness in My Chest

Marci Madary

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pp. 92

I Want to Ask You

Jessica de Koninck

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pp. 93

Pillow Talk

Jessica de Koninck

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pp. 94

Come Saturday Morning

Rebecca Schenck

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pp. 95-96

Phantom Limb

Laura Manuelidis

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pp. 97

Chora

Laura Manuelidis

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pp. 98-99

Until

Laura Manuelidis

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pp. 100

January 2007

Jacqueline Kudler

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pp. 101

Old Woman Dreams

Patricia Fargnoli

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pp. 102

Who Will Not Be Home

“Ariel”

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pp. 103

Ghost Dream

Donna Waidtlow

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pp. 104-105

Waking the Dead

Jill Jackson

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pp. 106

Left Behind

Barbara J. Collignon

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pp. 107

Shaky All Day

Patricia Wellingham-Jones

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pp. 108

Circumflex

Natasha Sajé

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pp. 109-110

Bureau

Holly Zeeb

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pp. 111

Cold Tea

Holly Zeeb

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pp. 112

Receipt: 11/07/09

Holly Zeeb

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pp. 113-114

Ghost of Prescott Park

Barbara Bald

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pp. 115-116

Somewhere

Jane Hayman

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pp. 117

Post-Mortem

Jane Hayman

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pp. 118

The Acropolis Diner

Heather Candels

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pp. 119-120

Memorial Candle

Florence Grende

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pp. 121-122

Those Days

Mary Oliver

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pp. 123

East Avenue Gulf

Marilyn Bates

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pp. 124

Gone

Ann McGovern

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pp. 125

The Weight

Ann McGovern

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pp. 126

Maybe You Are Here

Ann McGovern

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pp. 127

Literal

Diana O’Hehir

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pp. 128-129

Why Can’t I Dream About Him?

Diana O’Hehir

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pp. 130-131

Crazy Menu

Tess Gallagher

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pp. 132-133

Ring

Tess Gallagher

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pp. 134-135

Deaf Poem

Tess Gallagher

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pp. 136-137

Dream Doughnuts

Tess Gallagher

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pp. 138-139

Deshacer

Donna Hilbert

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pp. 140

The Wild Things

T. J. Banks

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pp. 141-142

Waking

Marean Jordan

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pp. 143

October 26, 1991: Outside Saratoga Springs

Sandra M. Gilbert

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pp. 144-145

November 26, 1992: Thanksgiving at the Sea Ranch,Contemplating Metempsychosis

Sandra M. Gilbert

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pp. 146-147

February 11, 1994: Berkeley,Anniversary Waltz Again

Sandra M. Gilbert

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pp. 148-149

Apart

Aline Soules

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pp. 150-151

Ours

Lenore McComas Coberly

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pp. 152

As the Crow Flies

Regina Murray Brault

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pp. 153-154

Ghosts I Have Met

Marianne Betterly

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pp. 155-156

Honey Bees

Marianne Betterly

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pp. 157-158

Light bulbs

Marianne Betterly

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pp. 159-160

None, I think

Lise Menn

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pp. 161

Alleyway

Lise Menn

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pp. 162

Loving with Sinatra

Connie Fisher

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pp. 163

I am prostrate, listening

Elizabeth Page Roberts

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pp. 164-166

III. Coping (more or less)

My universe has changed

Phyllis Wax

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pp. 169

No One Knows

Elizabeth von Transehe

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pp. 170

How are you?

Christine Silverstein

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pp. 171-174

Widow, Falling

Pamela Manché Pearce

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pp. 175

The Machines

Jacqueline Kudler

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pp. 176-177

Managing

Jacqueline Kudler

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pp. 178-179

Peninsula

Donna Hilbert

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pp. 180

In Quintana Roo

Donna Hilbert

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pp. 181-182

Dear one,

Marean Jordan

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pp. 183-184

Farewell to Sorrow

Marean Jordan

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pp. 185

Widow’s Lament

Rosalind Kaliden

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pp. 186-188

Prayer Shawl

“Ariel”

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pp. 189

How I Carry You

“Ariel”

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pp. 190-191

No Answer, No Message

Charlotte Cox

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pp. 192

Double Sinks

Roselee Blooston

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pp. 193-194

Eleven Months

Patricia L. Goodman

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pp. 195

In the Woods

Patricia L. Goodman

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pp. 196

Ties

Susanne Braham

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pp. 197-198

Widow’s Daughter

Susanne Braham

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pp. 199

Widowed, Turning Sixty

Susanne Braham

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pp. 200-201

A Christmas Trilogy

Nancy H. Womack

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pp. 202-203

Curios

Regina Murray Brault

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pp. 204

How to Get Around It

Regina Murray Brault

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pp. 205

The Sisterhood

Regina Murray Brault

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pp. 206-207

Poem in Praise of My Husband (Portsmouth)

Tammi J. Truax

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pp. 208-209

Acceptance

Tammi J. Truax

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pp. 210

Gracie, Go Get Mommy’s Glock…

Tammi J. Truax

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pp. 211

Surviving with Gratitude

Christine Thiele

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pp. 212-213

On My Own

Thelma Zirkelbach

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pp. 214-215

Second Anniversary

Gail Braune Comorat

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pp. 216

The Widow Makes Pancakes

Gail Gilliland

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pp. 217

The Widow Decides to Get a Cat

Gail Gilliland

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pp. 218

Improbable Grace

Carolyn Stephens

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pp. 219-220

Still Life

Katherine J. Williams

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pp. 221

Resurrection

Katherine J. Williams

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pp. 222

Irradiation

Ann Cefola

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pp. 223

What Yields to Winter

Ann Cefola

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pp. 224

Widow’s Weeds

Joanne Seltzer

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pp. 225

Sleep

Joan Michelson

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pp. 226

Scar

Joan Michelson

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pp. 227

Message to Satan

Joan Michelson

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pp. 228

Betrayals

Kristine Shorey

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pp. 229-230

Guilt

Seren Fargo

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pp. 231

Unpalatable

Seren Fargo

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pp. 232

To a husband, saved by death at 48

“M”

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pp. 233-234

Salt

“M”

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pp. 235-236

Fresco alfresco

“M”

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pp. 237-238

She Considers Widowhood

Natasha Sajé

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pp. 239-240

Persevere and Endure

Christine Thiele

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pp. 241-242

Something Someone Said

Andrea S. Gereighty

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pp. 243

Shoes

Holly Zeeb

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pp. 244

Exterminator

Holly Zeeb

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pp. 245

Camp Numbers

Barbara Bald

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pp. 246

If I Write Enough

Cary Fellman

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pp. 247

What will there be

Elizabeth Page Roberts

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pp. 248-249

widow, anew

Elizabeth Page Roberts

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pp. 250-251

Why I Paint

Donna Waidtlow

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pp. 252

The Farmer’s Widow Gives Hima Piece of Her Mind

Maureen Tolman Flannery

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pp. 253

After Her Death

Mary Oliver

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pp. 254

What the Widow Learns, 2

Helen Ruggieri

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pp. 255

323 West 22nd Street

Ellen Peckham

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pp. 256-257

Grief

Iris Litt

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pp. 258

The dead, the garbage and the rage

Iris Litt

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pp. 259

Death of a friend

Iris Litt

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pp. 260

Do It Yourself

Lise Menn

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pp. 261-262

The sound of one hand clapping

Lise Menn

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pp. 263

Tar

Lise Menn

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pp. 264

Erv’s Gift

Agnes G. Herman

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pp. 265-266

IV. A Different Life

Freedom

Gilda Zelin

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pp. 269-270

Repairs

Jessica de Koninck

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pp. 271-272

The Walk Through

Jessica de Koninck

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pp. 273

Not Enough

P. C. Moorehead

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pp. 274

Black Lace

Bernice Rendrick

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pp. 275

Sixteenth Anniversary

Tess Gallagher

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pp. 276-279

Is It Time to Cast Your Line?

Catherine Tidd

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pp. 280-281

Lunch Dates

Marci Madary

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pp. 282

The woman dressed in black is walking fast

Katharyn Howd Machan

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pp. 283

The Young Widow Revives

Phyllis Wax

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pp. 284

Widow’s Lament

Valerie Kockelman

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pp. 285-286

My Hierarchy of Needs

Susan Mahan

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pp. 287

Where Is Walter?

Cary Fellman

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pp. 288

Lingering

Mary Pacifico Curtis

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pp. 289-290

Pretty Soon, It Was

Heather Candels

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pp. 291-292

I Seek You in the Faces of Old Men

Florence Weinberger

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pp. 293

Fortune is severe and coy with us

Jacqueline Lapidus

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pp. 294

The Widow Turns Down a Date

Gail Gilliland

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pp. 295

Widow’s Car

Patricia Wellingham-Jones

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pp. 296

They Tell Me

Carol Tufts

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pp. 297

Birthday

Ellen Steinbaum

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pp. 298

who would ask for this

Ellen Steinbaum

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pp. 299-300

Last night his late wife

Ellen Steinbaum

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pp. 301

A Hundred Forevers

Ellen Steinbaum

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pp. 302

Troubled in the Bedroom

Lise Menn

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pp. 303-304

Beginning Again

Lise Menn

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pp. 305-307

This Morning

Susan Carol Hauser

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pp. 308

Message

Judy Bebelaar

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pp. 309-311

Something

Judy Bebelaar

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pp. 312-314

Epilogue

Widow and Dog

Maxine Kumin

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pp. 317-318

Contributors

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pp. 319-331

Permissions and Acknowledgments

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pp. 332-334

Back Cover

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pp. 335


E-ISBN-13: 9781612778587
E-ISBN-10: 1612778062
Print-ISBN-13: 9781606352045

Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • American poetry -- Women authors.
  • Loss (Psychology) -- Fiction.
  • Grief -- Poetry.
  • Widows' writings.
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