It began with swathes and hues of reds I loved.
The lipsticks were removed, then the bras.
Before long I knew better than to like something too much.
If the tights fit perfectly, I would return and wander the store casually,
pretending I was looking for something else, and then behave
as though the five added to my cart at the last minute were an afterthought.
I wasn’t sure who was looking.
I got in the habit of buying at least three of anything I loved.
Three sweater dresses in different shades; shoes in black and brown.
Be practical. Don’t choose the red. Don’t lose control.
I knew it was a risk when the husband-father and I only birthed two children;
my own father eyeing the first had said, “You have an awful lot invested,”
but it was a challenge to secure another. She was added to the cart just closing.
Not everything we desire is plentiful.
I was intent on securing enough love.
I didn’t yet allow the knowledge of how common warfare is for civilians.
I still believed I could gather enough in my arms to never run out.
An unending supply of nourishment for us all.
Husband-father was not only discontinued, but recalled.
And there was only one. Just one.
All the hues of my life reflected in his face.
Deirdre Fagan is a widow, wife, and mother of two. Her poem, “Outside In,” nominated by Nine Muses Poetry, was a finalist for Best of the Net 2018, and her poem “Homesick,” was nominated for a 2018 Pushcart by Constellate Literary Journal. She has a chapbook, Have Love, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Fagan is the author of the book Critical Companion to Robert Frost and has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as a number of critical essays on poetry, memoir, and teaching pedagogy. She is associate professor and coordinator of creative writing at Ferris State University. Meet her at http://deirdrefagan.com.