To be stumped by the very last crossword puzzle you ever will work on, well, that’s defeat, but a small and amusing defeat. Here George Bilgere, a poet from Ohio, gives us a picture of his mother’s last day on earth.


When I came to my mother’s house
the day after she had died
it was already a museum of her
unfinished gestures. The mysteries
from the public library, due
in two weeks. The half-eaten square
of lasagna in the fridge.

The half-burned wreckage
of her last cigarette,
and one red swallow
of wine in a lipsticked
glass beside her chair.

Finally, a blue Bic
on a couple of downs
and acrosses left blank
in the Sunday crossword,
which actually had the audacity
to look a little smug
at having, for once, won.

(via American Life in Poetry)