Steve Henn

Poem for the Mother of my Children

I wonder if it was an inability
to cope with 1000 minor disappointments
that drove you to put the belt
around your neck. I am with you
in that sense. Losing battle after battle.
hoping and dashing hopes, killing my will
on half chances and failed attempts
but I am nowhere near suicide.
Still I think now I understand
You felt you really had no one.
Not me any longer, certainly.
Not your dubious boyfriend.
The afternoon before you killed yourself
you hugged each of our children inside
my minivan and told them you loved them.
Hindsight worried us that night. I’m sure
you felt a lightness, a peace.
Because our oldest daughter and I
shared an apple account then
I know she sent you message
after message, begging for response,
after you were already gone.


Steve Henn’s latest collection is Indiana Noble Sad Man of the Year (Wolfson Press, 2017). He spent one miserable semester in Columbia, Misery, and he’s never going back.