Autumn 1947

by Gayle Mohrbacker

Mind quick,

judgment terrible.

Wisely though,

he kept short

his visits to Chicago

where he’d have drawn

the wrong kind of attention

and turned up dead.

For all the grief he gave her,

he could’ve been a trumpet player.

Loved money ~

thought saving it was wasting it.

He always knew

when she had something

squirreled away.

Hadn’t wanted the baby,

then saw her ~

wanted to name her

after his mother.

He imagined her grown up

driving alone in a red convertible.

This would have meant

he’d managed to become rich.

His wife left him a day before

their tenth anniversary.

He was away.

There was no divorce.

She wrapped her wedding rings

in waxed paper with the words


and pushed the little packet down

between streetcar seat cushions

on the way to the train station.