From Delights & Shadows. Copper Canyon Press, 2004.
All of your husband’s shirts and slacks
and heavy sweaters – a bank of threatening clouds
that hang from a pipe between two ladders –
are much too big for me, and his extra boots
look cold and deep as abandoned wells,
and his tools are no good to anyone but him:
the head of his hammer is loose from pounding,
and he has twisted his screwdriver out
of its handle, and burned through the cord
on his soldering iron and chipped up the blade
of his crosscut saw, and all with the fingers
he touches you with. Where can he be
while I chat with you about the rain, beginning
to ring the fenders of trikes and bikes
pared in ranks on the drive? Where is he
as you and I carry the table of baby clothes
back under your roof and the rain wets the down
on your freckled, elbowy arms and shines
on your face and small round hopeful shoulders?
I walk so empty-handed to my car.
Poem copyright Ted Kooser, used here with permission.