Two Poems
William Bernhardt
Bernhardt Page 1
[Listen to readings of these poems.]

Deck Party

The woman in the billowy black dress loudly
says she will sit by herself so
as not to bother anyone.

It is her way of asking to be invited to join
their little conversation group.
She will not be invited.
She is too broad, too other
and she is not married so
she will sit alone, occasionally
exchanging words with the handful of other women
who have lost their husbands
or never had them.

The young woman has been accepted.
The other wives were reluctant, and
remain guarded, but the husbands
have warmly embraced her, as does her spouse
who is at least thirty-five years her senior.
They are more forgiving, or perhaps
she represents something to them
a spark they do not want to relinquish
or fear has been extinguished.

"Ford is up two-and-a-half points," remarks Fred of
obviously uncomfortable with so much free time.
"I never gamble," replies Linda, who is celebrating a birthday
at least fifteen years younger that her actual one.
"Who will get sick next?" frets Pamela.