John Ewen

The widower

He is nothing but a head

disembodied sitting quietly

looking at the mirror.

He is nothing but a head

above a black cape.

She is young, attractive

unaware he watches her

absorbed in a careful sweep

of scissors as she moves around

behind him. Now she takes

his head into her hands

tilts it gently. It’s almost more

than he can bear. His eyes close.

His nose can no longer tell him

of her scent, he speculates

it will be subtle and wonders

if she knows its effect

on some young fellow out there

– for there will be one –

callow, hot-blooded, but he hopes

caring and sensitive.

She’s finished; she flicks the cape

to one side like a polished matador

picks up the money, thanks him –

the last time someone speaks to him

for another week.

John Ewen in Kāpiti-Coast based. His poems, short stories and non-fiction have appeared in online and New Zealand literary magazines and anthologies, as well as broadcast by Radio New Zealand. He is not a widower.