The Forest of Lost Husbands

Here's the winning entry in the 2008 WD Poetry Awards.
Publish date:

You have to meet her
someone says
She’s lost her husband, too.

How feckless of her, I think, wondering
How she could have lost a perfectly good man.
How careless of me to have lost you, too.
I turned my back for a moment, just the blink
Of an eye. I turned and
You were gone. Imagine a New Yorker cartoon
a wall of trees, large, close together
a sign that says
“The Forest of Lost Husbands”
A shapeless woman—a sort of
Thurber woman—stands there
at the forest’s edge
holds a basket of bread crumbs
to mark the way back if she enters.
A black bird lurks. What are all those lost men doing
in there? … Playing golf? … Reading? … Marking trees
because black birds ate
their crumby trail?

I do not choose to search the woods.
My heart beats:
I know where you are.