Pamela Manché Pearce’s debut pamphlet is a heartfelt, sometimes searing account of her thoughts and feelings since the death of her husband. The rawness is tempered with fresh and arresting images. There is love, frustration, loneliness and hope—human experience told through a specific circumstance. She takes the reader into this ‘widowland’with which anyone who has experienced loss can identify. As she writes in ‘Widow, falling:” ‘Tell me how to live this beautiful life./Tell me now./Help me to make bracelets from tin cans/Christmas wrap from toilet paper and potatoes cut into stars.’
The chapbook is titled Widowland because it is a terrain rather than a chronological point in time; it requires a map, or at the very least directions, to navigate, both emotionally and practically. It’s a place you can find yourself dropped into without expecting it, and these poems reflect the orientation and the journey through this landscape.
In the UK, to order your copy of Widowland please visit Green Bottle Press.
In the US, to order your copy of Widowland click here.
List of publications for poems in Widowland:
CANCER POETRY PROJECT ANTHOLOGY
HOSPITAL DRIVE MAGAZINE (forthcoming)
HUDSON VALLEY CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS ‘Between I and Thou’ exhibition compilation.
THE WIDOW’S HANDBOOK: Poetic Reflections on Grief and Survival
We shiver in the chilly car
I drive the October night
Air still alive with burning
My mother beside me in the dark
Wrapped in a blanket
My reverse papoose, a diaper, too.
Her hand, freed from the
Woolen shroud, tells me
What the night denies,
Her look that says
This ride will be
The last time I will sit beside
The last time she will sit
Her grasp burns me with the
Blood knowledge of love
Next to me my same flesh
Her only other flesh
And mine, too
We have made it enough for us
My passenger apologizes for her
Un-coiffed hair, chipped nail polish
Long white hairs on her chin,
Like a Mandarin
Her travel costume not couture,
And untied black suede walking shoes,
Over bare feet,
Stained with relief maps of B. M.
Her slippers, all lost to pee,
Matched her robes and boudoir,
I order new ones, cut-velvet
Three colors so she can choose,
Or keep them all
I hold the steering wheel, tight
And reciprocate her hand
I am so small, now
Our fingers link, and like
Sex, I can’t tell where her
Body ends and mine begins
This is how we began, after all
The hospital lights shock us
I stop the car gently
We’re here, mommy
I know, honey. I know.
Once inside she will leave,
Go someplace where I can
Never find her
No matter how long, no matter
How long I drive.
Tell me how to live this beautiful life.
Tell me now.
Help me to make bracelets from tin cans
Christmas wrap from potatoes cut into stars and toilet paper
a gourmet meal from sautéed dice of pillowcase and
hot rollers en brochette to change my watch to an elastic bandage
to drive safely when I am blind
to know when I collapse, how to fall
to read the eyes of strangers when they ask me for change to get home
to ask strangers for change so I can get home,
in their eyes, and mine
to know when I am home and how to act when I am there.
Help me when I collapse.
Pamela Manché Pearce
Published in “The Widows’ Handbook Poetry Anthology,” Kent State University Press 2014