Norma Chapman


As I was moving out, Jack said,
"We can still be friends, can’t we?"
I said, "yes," but I lied. I drank more.

I drank and—
worked full time;
took a night class in drawing
        where I practiced sheer:
        the chair through the shirt,
        the object through water
looked for sexual partners
joined Single Booklovers and wrote only
to men who lived at least 1,000 miles away.

I gave myself a 50th birthday party and invited
all my friends except Jack. It started at 3 pm
on a Saturday afternoon and lasted until
3 am Sunday with an argument between my son
and my craziest woman friend. I was exhausted.

I was 50 but far too tired to notice.
My boss wrote me a poem. It's lost.
I wish I could find it.
He's dead now, and I’m sober.

Norma Chapman lives in Brunswick, a small town in Western Maryland. She started writing poetry after turning sixty. Her poems have appeared in Passager, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Iris, The Sow’s Ear, and River Styx. She received a 2003 Maryland State Arts Council Grant.



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