When someone you have lived with
For over forty years, mostly happily
But twice breaking up

And living apart yet then reuniting, dies
And you are left alone in the big two-story house
With reminders of him everywhere,

Particularly two disconsolate dogs – one his, one yours –
Which you must take out for their walk each day,
Leaving momentarily the feeling that the house

Has become a mausoleum –
Memories in every room and in the garden too –
You doubt Life will get the least bit better

But most likely will become much worse.
You feel you would exchange this loneliness
For simple absolute misery, in a flash.

You feel this way every morning, all morning
Until you force yourself to have a little lunch.
“Simple absolute misery,” you report,

Has become your synonym
For “unhappy.”
About this, you are quite clear.

You do not use metaphor. If you had, I think
Loneliness might be the champion racehorse
Triumphantly breaking the tape, leaving

Unhappiness and also the dark horse of Hope
Length after length behind
Which you had bet on but which did not win.