I find myself mourning
but not for anyone we have buried
and not for the old neighbourhood
or my lost youth
or any of that crap.
To make no bones about it
I am mourning myself.
Trudy doesn’t get it at all.
When she lays her head on my chest
and her yellow hair lies loose
all over my stomach,
I still turn over her way
and I do my homework.
But she knows it isn’t the same–
Even as I enter her body she knows
I am going through the motions.
It’s easier at work.
I can laugh at my buddies’ jokes
and tell a few of my own
when we break for coffee
and no one’s the wiser.
The boss as always can see
I clock in on time.
But I know and Trudy knows
that the man who took up space in this world
under my name
has slipped out the door without so much
as a by-your-leave.
How she sticks it I don’t know
but we have our meals as usual
and we visit her folks as usual
and we go to the movies or go bowling
and we fight about money we don’t have
for the new baby
and it’s only the odd time I catch her
looking at me when she doesn’t see I see her
and I know she knows.
“What Trudy Knows” is an example of a kind of narrative poetry I began writing back in the 80’s.