I never do this, let someone read a poem before I am sure it is done. Who am I kidding? I only have never done this before online. A new poem is a newborn creature, a baby calf or foal struggling to stand up for the first time. I could not have written here about anything else, not this morning.
There is a delicate line between honest human feeling and sentimentality. I hope that by keeping the focus on the husband’s clothing–the white shirt, in particular–the poem shows a decent amount of restraint and is not too sweet.
In the first line the speaker uses “barely an hour” to express minor annoyance with her husband for not staying indoors to get his needed rest. Notice how her feelings change as the poem goes along.
Our Sunday Afternoon
We’re barely home from church an hour
when he goes out to water the tomatoes;
this hot wind, he says, is so relentless.
There’s a little slope from the house
down to the garden. I watch from here
at the window, see his momentary
hesitation as he stands against the wind,
white dress shirt and trousers billowing
behind him, his two canes and his two legs
to hold him up. And I stay until he has
reached the garden and is settled into
his outdoor chair in the orchard’s shade.
I should like to keep a memory of the way
the wind-tossed spray dampens those white
cuffs, dried as soon again in that dappled light.