Somebody’s Husband

by Anne Pierson Wiese

If I had a gold locket with my husband’s picture

in it – which I don’t, and I were dead – which I’m not,

and I could still think while being dead – which I

couldn’t, I’d be happy to think that some young woman

with a penchant for the past had found my locket

in the showcase reserved for special items

by the cash register in the secondhand store,

suspected it of possessing magical

properties, asked that it be extracted

from behind the World War II medals

with their umbilicals of dried ribbon

and the chip-winged porcelain hummingbird,

and bought it for a little more than she could

afford at that time in her life.

 

I’d be happy to think of her wondering

who he was, what he was like, trying to glean

from his miniature fading features with what

abandon he might have tossed his cap off on his way

through the front door after work, whether he was

a talker, a man who kept secrets – or both,

whether he might have been – discounting time and space

among other things — a man for her. I’d be happy

to think how love for somebody’s husband might live

in a locket, a soundless echo of the human

act – the hands that scrupulously trimmed the black

and white photograph into a wobbly but workable circle

and slid it behind the wisp of glass from under which

it could never again be recalled, so right was the fit.