W. D. Ehrhart  


    Because I love my wife, I've traveled
six hundred miles to stand for fifteen minutes
by a cold stone standing in a grove of pines
in West Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
What are you to me? A name. A few
silent photographs I've seen in albums.
Second-hand stories. I never even met you.

The taxi idles by the graveyard gate;
a cold Atlantic wind whips the pines.
Your daughter grips my arm—once, twice, hard:
"My mother died!" she cries, as though the news
had just arrived, the tears standing for a moment
in her eyes before they topple down her face.
I think of mothers, think of death, and love

and all at once my throat constricts
in startled grief; my own tears rise:
mother of my wife, your living soul
breathes in every gesture of your daughter,
and your daughter is the touchstone of my life.
Because I love my wife, I've traveled
six hundred miles to discover that I miss you,
and to thank you for the splendid child you raised.
      go back go to next    
    Copyright © 1984 by W. D. Ehrhart
The Outer Banks, Adastra Press, 1984
This poem currently appears in Thank You For Your Service: Collected Poems, McFarland & Company, 2019
Copyright © 2011 - W. D. Ehrhart - homepage
Go Back Go to Next