Just Projecting

The reader likes to read short, internet
biographies of the poets whose poetry
finds its way into his inbox every day.

He copies the name and pastes it and,
if the poet has a website, he clicks the
link and then reads “About.” This one

started out like so many of them — where
the poet was born, how many siblings,
where she went to school, how she met

her husband, how many kids they have —
the story was on the way to glory — how
many awards she has received, when the

paragraph came to an abrupt halt with a
searing sentence — 23 years of marriage
before her husband died of cancer at age

49. The reader was caught off guard,
stopped him in his tracks where he sat —
26 years of marriage before his wife died

at age 49. It would be a while before he
would read the rest of the short, internet
biography. Before clicking out of the site,

he glanced again at the poet’s smiling face
and wondered if there was a hint of pain
he hadn’t noticed before.

Maybe the reader was just projecting.

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