An Online Literature and Art Journal

If I Could

By Sherry Rind

If you could share a private meal and one-on-one conversation with any person whether from this time or another, whether real or imagined, who would you pick and why?


Unlike that wimp Orpheus,

I’d haul my husband back from the dead

with muscles hardened from lifting

bags of dog kibble and chicken feed,

from pruning trees and wrenching pipes,

climbing, pounding, plus the scrubbing

of hidden dirt he never gave a thought.


I’d take him to a grill because I still can’t cook a steak

to save my life, the delicate balance of charred and raw.

Order thick and bloody, you’ll know you’re eating

something once alive. I’m not the type.


And why, you ask, sit across the intimate table

and listen to the same old stories—there’s nothing new

from the land of the dead—I tuned out

years before he died?

We might discuss that quicksand feel

of never keeping up with things that break,

him tossing quotes from Tristram Shandy and Huck Finn

as if words stopped a leaky roof.


I’d come round to asking why

didn’t he save himself

and of course he’d say he tried but couldn’t

and I’d say look at your son, he needed you here

to make him keep going at life

because he never listened to me any more than you did.


And I wouldn’t be able to stop

any more than my husband had stopped.

He’d pour another drink

and I would burn.


Oh, my crass and selfish nature

I’d do it again and again

because he loved me.

I’d say eat slow.




Sherry Rind‘s  poetry books are The Hawk in the Back Yard (Anhinga Award,) and A Fall Out the Door (King County Arts Award, Confluence Press). Chapbooks are The Whooping Crane Dance and A Natural History of Grief. She has received grants and awards from the Seattle and King County Arts Commissions, Pacific Northwest Writers, National Endowment for the Arts, and Artist Trust.