Tuesday, 8 September 2020

At the Department Picnic

by Gabriella Bedetti

My colleague, who sat with me at graduation
in full regalia, who joked with me as we walked
through the campus ravine, and was widely supported
for promotion, was charged with murdering his wife.

I saw the family months before she went missing,
seated under the shelter at the department picnic.
His wife and five-year-old are wearing top knots,
their heads bent close together over a plate of potluck,
her cellphone with its recorded fights out of sight.

He is sitting across from them, looking away,
indifferent to the child to whom he has passed
down jug ears. The hand wearing the wedding band
is resting on one knee; the other is cupped on the table.
He left his gloves, knife, and brass knuckles at home.

* * * * *

Gabriella Bedetti's essays, poems, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in New Literary History, Still, Gravel, Asymptote, Ezra, and Rhino. She is a professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University. She received an Artistic Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to work on a poetry collection exploring issues of aging and ageism. With two student assistants, she is leading a Collecting Memories Circle at a local retirement community. In June, you can find her blogging on https://lexpomo.com/. She and her spouse are translating Henri Meschonnic’s poems from the French. https://gabriellabedetti.wordpress.com/.​

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