She wears his name like a veil.

It’s unfashionable, grieving
in the way of young women,
says an acquaintance at lunch.

It’s unseemly, says another,
flaunting such everyday loss.

She is, after all, a queen,
and isn’t that so much more
than simply a woman?

Perhaps she has forgotten herself,
like an appointment, or a meal
in the oven past dinner.

Somewhere there’s smoke.

Somewhere a candle is burning
down through its wick.

She makes an extra cup of tea
every morning, leaves it untouched
in the kitchen.

Everything she makes nowadays
tastes like blood and turpentine.

She thins like a tree in the winter.

Somewhere a woman is dying from this.


Maya Phillips, “Dido” from Erou. Copyright © 2019 by Maya Phillips. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books, All rights reserved.