The Sick Wife

(1997)

"The Sick Wife" is the 25th song in Rorem's massive song cycle Evidence of Things Not Seen, which sets 36 poems by a total of 24 authors.

The Sick Wife
by Jane Kenyon


The sick wife stayed in the car
while he bought a few groceries.
Not yet fifty,
she had learned what it’s like
not to be able to button a button.

It was the middle of the day—
and so only mothers with small children
and retired couples
stepped through the muddy parking lot.

Dry cleaning swung and gleamed on hangers
in the cars of the prosperous.
How easily they moved—
with such freedom,
even the old and relatively infirm.

The windows began to steam up.
The cars on either side of her
pulled away so briskly
that it made her sick at heart.


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