A hard-won, heart-wrenching collection of poems.
In her latest book, poet Josefowitz (Been There, Done That, Doing It Better, 2009) touchingly chronicles the painful first year after the death of her longtime husband. Beginning with a description of his final days in hospice, her plainspoken, free verse documents the slow burn of her grief from day to day—whether she’s at her husband’s funeral struggling to “find the man I loved / in all these words” or sitting alone in the evenings, trying to conjure the presence of her lost love (“make a sound in the wind / touch my cheek / with a breath of air”). Although the poems sometimes rely on clichéd abstractions and can err toward the sentimental, Josefowitz’s sense of detail makes them sing. The poems are at their best when most specific: “I miss him / rustling the newspapers / in the room next door / his voice on the phone— / I always knew which of the children / he was talking to.” The author never shies away from difficulties she faces—a fractured sense of self, months of inconsolability and profound survivor’s guilt when she eventually finds herself able to enjoy things again. In the sad but charming “Firsts,” she finds she must learn how to do the many mundane tasks her husband used to do: taking out the garbage, resetting the clocks for daylight saving time, opening a bottle of wine. Josefowitz’s poems, in all their raw tenderness, are sometimes excruciating to read, but they’re ultimately testaments to a great love and affirmations of the author’s new identity as a single, self-sustaining woman in her elder years.
A beautiful book of sad, funny and relatable verse and a comforting companion for anyone grieving the loss of a loved one.