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“To My Husband”

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This poem was inspired by a passage from the book Good Without God (2009) by Greg M. Epstein. The passage is: “…spouses who give more to their husbands or wives live longer, healthier lives than those who receive more…” (page 87). My husband has read the poem. A writer’s statement about the poem appears as the second comment.

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…………………….TO MY HUSBAND

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…………………….If for every act of kindness to me

…………………….your life lasts a moment more than mine —

…………………….say, the time it takes to read a sonnet —

…………………….how unkind of me

…………………….to die first, leaving you alone with no one

…………………….to surpass in smiles & laughs & forgiveness.

…………………….Just last night, how you chuckled

…………………….when I undercooked your potato, earning

…………………….an extra minute or two as a widower.

…………………….Perhaps today you should scowl for a second

…………………….if I forget to charge the cell phone,

…………………….perhaps like me you should tally

…………………….your gripes —  tit for tat, the cheerless rule

…………………….of reciprocity. But as we are not equal

…………………….in years (you 62, me 50), better get going now

…………………….if we are to die together. How far ahead

…………………….I already am, taking you for my poems.

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…………………….by Therese L. Broderick

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About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

13 responses »

  1. Breathtaking. I think you both will live to your hundreds with love like that. Really beautiful, Therese.

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  2. poetryaboutart

    WRITER’S STATEMENT
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    This poem about assessment suggests a relationship between the words “kind” (affectionate) and “in kind” (in equal parts). A distant influence on this poem may be those sonnets which use the word “kind” or “unkind.” (ex, Shakespeare’s #120). I am now reading the book Good Without God; my husband has finished reading it. Facts in the poem: my husband is more generous than I am; we are indeed 12 years apart; I did undercook the potato. Fictions in the poem: My husband was cheerful about the potato, but did not actually chuckle.
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  3. I’m a bit late getting here, Therese, but thoroughly enjoyed reading this love poem. A wonderful theory but perhaps keeping a tally goes against the spirit?! :0)

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  4. Beautifully done. Good to see you at the Island.

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  5. I guess the moral is to give and receive in equal measure.

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  6. Therese, how wonderful for me that, after being away through NaPoWriMo, I come back, different site, and see this as your first poem of my return. I love it.

    My older partner does all those life prolonging things doing nice things for me. I know exactly what you’re saying. Beautiful, real relationship depicted in lush realism. Thanks!

    And isn’t Epstein fine?

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  7. I love the wonderful domestic picture this paints, though I think dying together would be the kindest thing…this is lovely.

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  8. You made my day. Stunning, lyrical, thoughtful and don’t ever tell me you did not undercook that potato. No giving away secrets! =)

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  9. This is the real stuff of poetry! Everyday happenings taking on the ethereal. I really like this and will never think of kindness the same way again!

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  10. what a wonderful poem Therese…you say lots here…read it slower the second time and just let it sink in softly

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  11. This is a jewel, Therese. My tolerant reader is nine years ahead of me, and 72. After thirty years of me, he’ll live to be a thousand.

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  12. Therese–I love this! Beautiful in expression and sentiment. Really well done.

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  13. Hi Therese.
    I am catching up on your poems…I also have an older man in my life….should I give him bleach along with ammonia ?
    ……….just kidding !!!!!

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