First Husband
by Sarah Russell

I found his obit on Google,
hadn’t seen him, barely thought
of him in 40 years
since the day he loaded his car
with half of everything —  blankets, pillows,
dishes, albums (we fought over
who’d get The Graduate poster of Hoffman
and Anne Bancroft’s leg) – and drove off
to I-didn’t-care-where.

Once, 20 years later I learned where he was
from his buddy John and called.
He still taught school and directed
summer stock in a small midwestern town.
We laughed together, comfortable,
finally, in our separate skins.

Now that googled obit with a picture
and two columns in the paper. A well-loved,
prominent citizen, it read, wife, three kids,
grandkids. He wrote a children’s book
and “left the town with memories of comedy
and drama that enriched our lives.”

Our marriage wasn’t mentioned. No need,
I suppose —  a youthful take off
and crash landing best forgotten. But I wish
I’d had a chance to say goodbye.

IMAGE: “Bride with a Fan” by Marc Chagall (1911).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Wordsworth said it best: “Poetry is…emotion recollected in tranquility.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Russell has returned to poetry after a career teaching, writing and editing academic prose. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Kentucky Review, Red River Review, Misfit Magazine, Ekphrastic Review and Silver Birch Press, among others. She was a featured poet on The Houseboat and Days of Stone. More poetry at