Kathleen Widdoes


She was older,
           the woman I loved.
I wore my suspenders
           low to hold
                    my boyhood hidden.

I followed her.
           “Come”, she said,
“Let us walk through
           the streets and note
                    the qualities of people.”

“What sport is that?,”
           I asked – football fresh,
fallen too short for baskets,
           breathless from biking,
                    wild boy me.

“O, don’t you know,”
           chided she.
“You child, you – no Anthony!
           But you can call me

I brought her tulips
           in the winter.
She told me “No!
           Flowers have a season.
                    These are Spring.”

All excitement, I
           entered her life.
Falling over to embrace
           her rules, I gave
                    her winter. A tangerine.

She taught me
           pain is good.
Startled, I cried.
           I did not know
                    tears were clean.

But tears were no balm
           I could give her.
She was waterproofed
           and walked hatless
                    in the rain.

I’d spin her tight-twirled.
           “Stop, fool,” she’d howl, anger
spitting from her tangled hair, her brow.
           “Boy, don’t you know?
                    Know strength is delicate!”

And when my arms were lost
           tender around her,
she would cry, “hold me, hold me,
           O, man yourself, boy”, she’d say,
                    “or I will fly away!”

And so she did one day.
           She broke the earth
with age or rage, I guess,
           and my heart. It was winter.
                    The earth was cold.

I brought flowers
           to her grave.
I would have brought
           her roses, but
                    tulips were all I had.


Watch out for those girls. I know their types.
Didn’t I come from the same small town?
I know what they’re looking for,

wearing their innocence fashionably
hidden, longing for the unknown, the forbidden.
Watch out for those girls. I know their types.

Scheming… dreaming if only they could
give their souls away…they would,
hoping to find what they are looking for.

Didn’t I leave that same scorched town, closed down
with poverty’s door screwed tight against knowing?
Watch out for those girls. I know their types.

I know how judgement sits cruel for want of
nurture. How they would laugh at you for what they lack.
It is too late for what they’re looking for.

So hold yourself safe, my girl of the city.
Be kind, but close your heart’s door.
Your mama was one of those girls. She knows their types.
She found what they’re looking for.

Kathleen Widdoes
has been an actress for many years in the theatre, television and film. She received a Tony nomination for ‘“Much Ado About Nothing,” three Obie awards for Off-Broadway performances in plays by Dumas, Chekhov and Brecht and received four Emmy nominations. She was Joe Papp’s first Juliet and played all the dark ladies of Shakespeare at The New York Shakespeare Festival. Some films include The Group and The Seagull. Kathleen is now a Reggio Student working towards a B.A. at The New School. As a poet and writer, she has been published in The New School’s The Twelfth Street Journal as the Writer of the Month and other publications. She lives in NYC.