Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Sudden Death and January

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Poet and nonfiction writer Linda Buckmaster lives in Belfast, a town of poets and artists. In these two brave poems she describes the sudden death of her husband, and his mysterious return.

Sudden Death by Linda Buckmaster

You were an electric current leaping
between contact points, living always
so bright, so hot until
that moment 
you shorted out, caught fire, and
bursting into white flames, 
consumed yourself
in light and heat, leaving us
the still warm ashes of an afterlife.


The other night, I saw you
as moonlight coming in
the west window of the kitchen.
Fourteen years in this house and I never
before saw the moon coming in that particular window. 
Perhaps it's that we never stayed up so late, 
at least not on bright nights in winter when 
the low-slung moon moves around 
the corner of the house and into the side yard. Or
perhaps it's just that I never noticed before now. Now
I'm often up very late, alone,
so that night I saw you softly spreading 
across the dark countertop and burnished surface
of the stove—a  triangle of light—and
I lowered my face and kissed you.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poems copyright © 2007 by Linda Buckmaster. Reprinted from Heart Song & Other Legacies, Illuminated Sea Press, 2007, by permission of Linda Buckmaster. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 207-228-8263.