Carrie Shipers
The angry widows

                                    don’t drink tea.
They want to burn down all the Hallmark stores,
smash every angel figurine. They shrug away
from your embrace, think your prayers
are useless and too late. The angry widows
dump lasagna in the trash, pour soup
down the drain and eat a cheeseburger
instead, then lick grease off the plate.

The angry widows don’t wear black
and are unlikely to collapse. They cut off
cars in traffic, storm out of stores
with too-long lines. The angry widows
don’t want therapy. Support groups
make them spit. They hate hot baths,
candles, and anything designed
to increase mindfulness. Their minds
are what they wish they could escape.

If the angry widows walked into a bar,
they wouldn’t sit in corners crying
pretty tears. They’d load the jukebox
with their favorite songs, sing too loud
and dance while holding drinks.
If you asked them to settle down,
they’d want to step outside. You’d end up
with your pool cue snapped in half,
your nose and windshield broken,
tires slashed. If the police were called,
the angry widows wouldn’t weep
and go home with a warning. Instead
they’d swing until the cuffs clicked on.

The angry widows never watch the news.
As far as they’re concerned, the worst
forecast has come true. They know
you need them to grieve with grace
and fortitude, but they have none to give.
Even when the angry widows seem
content, inside they’re smoldering.
They may never hurt the world as much
as it’s hurt them, but they’re willing to try.

Carrie Shipers’s poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New England Review, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and other journals.  She is the author of Ordinary Mourning (ABZ, 2010), Cause for Concern (Able Muse, 2015), Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico, 2016), and Grief Land (University of New Mexico, forthcoming).