Poetry for Meri with Don Intonato

April 2021


She liked walking in the rain,
never a coat,
never a hat,
or an umbrella.

Often I remember her
returning to the house
drenched to her core,
her curly red hair
dripping down
the sides of her face,
that look of wonderment,
laughing like a little girl.

She never did show any pain.
This week I packed up her life
and realized she did not
need much at all.

A few silver necklaces
in a brown envelope mailed
to our daughter in New Jersey.
Everything else she left behind was small,
three cardboard boxes
I put by the front door
for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Except for a Spanish bike,
her only extravagance,
which I kept hanging
by its handlebars
in the garage
for someone else to give away.

This morning is raining hard.
Through a half-open window
I see my elder son waiting
outside in his black pickup truck.
I can hear the staccato
of the wiper blades careening
back and forth across his windshield.
Every Tuesday he drives me
into Sloan Kettering.

I put on the green raincoat
she bought me from L.L. Bean,
wrap a tartan scarf
around my neck,
put on my broadbrimmed hat,
tuck my pill box in my pocket.

Channel 12 reports
seventy percent chance of showers,
gusty winds, small-craft warnings.
Meticulously over-dressed
for the inclement weather,
I pop out my umbrella
as I open the front door.

And she is there,
standing in the downpour
on the front steps.

Just returned from somewhere,
drenched to her core,
her curly red hair
dripping down the sides of her face,
laughing in the rain,
blocking my path.


She stopped him
before he could get closer
and pointed to a chair
for him to sit
across from her
on the other side of the room.

And he, having lost his chance,
sat down on the chair,
folded his hands on his lap
and waited.

She smiled and said,
“I guess you are different
because you are an artist.
You feel comfortable talking about love
and telling a woman
she is beautiful.

So is this how
it is going to be?
You telling me
everyday you love me
and that I am beautiful?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Because you are an artist?” she asked.

“No,” he said, “because it is true.
But I can do what you want.”

She was older and wiser.
She took off her coat
and dropped it on the floor.

“Tell me what is true
as long as you can, “ she said.
“Then lie.”

And he walked to her
across the room.