I wonder tonight if you ever knew
I’d find your crossword puzzles almost done
on the table, take up your still-warm pen
and sit there thinking, finishing what you
had tired of or abandoned, a word or two
across or down, one section you’d left open,
wondering then if you’d notice them –
your empty squares filled in – as you threw
the paper away, those letters slightly different,
a few too dark amid your lighter slant
where I pressed the words you couldn’t think of.
No substitute for what we never said
but something, some small synonym for love,
your hand and mine together on that grid.
by Elise Hempel
Editor’s Note: This slant sonnet suggests rather than shoves—rhyme is subtle, as is meter, reinforcing the story instead of dragging it along.