old hands.jpg



Her fingers interlaced, she held her hands

Between her knees, as though in fallen prayer:

Clutched, a travesty of knots, the way

A plant, outgrown its pot, has tangled roots

Writhing in one ball, its clotted soil

Now one thick mass of string. She drily wrung

Her knuckles, fingers, wedding ring; now every

Vein and artery a rosary,

Her grief wrought out. Her paper-coloured palms

A palimpsest of futures, lines crossed out,

Rewritten time and again; she held her hands,

As though no man could would take them, anymore.



The word “relict” was often used on Grants of Probate, only a few decades ago, to refer to the widow of the deceased. The etymology of the word is fascinating, and well worth a quick Google. 



3 thoughts on “Relict

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