The day after he died,

the house looked the same.

He might just have

driven into town

on an errand, or to a gig.

Travels with Charley

lay on the side table,

a page turned down

real close to the end;

his guitars hung,

the strings barely

cooled from his fingers;

his coffee mug with dregs

still in it rested beside the sink,

the butt of his last Marlboro

in the cheap yellow ashtray,

and Buddy, his black Lab,

at once an affront and a comfort,

had the audacity to be happy.




Mary Ellen Shaughan is a native Iowan who now lives in Western Massachusetts. Her poetry has appeared in PeregrineFoliate Oak, Long Story Short, Iowa Writes, A&U: America’s AIDS Magazine, Aleola, and 2River View.