The cancer began in her tonsils,
she'd say that with a smile
almost expecting to be teased
for such a serious disease
rooting in that childish place.
She remembered her son at four
when he'd had his out,
the way he'd looked at her as the nurse
slid the cold thermometer up his bum.
She carried on as usual, cleaned the house,
fried a chicken for her husband every Sunday,
cutting the breast in four pieces, the wings in two.
The morning of the day she died
she took him down the basement,
showed him how to separate the clothes,
how to measure the soap, set the dials,
how to hang his shirts and pants
so the creases would fallout


The man with a worn-out heart, sold his tools
so his wife wouldn't be left with that part of him
to deal with. How he had loved them
in his hands, each so perfectly designed
to fit the palm, the wheels, bits and teeth
made for one specific use.
On the empty walls of the garage hung the shapes
of all the tools he'd ever owned,
sixty years of wrenches, saws and drills.
He'd traced around them row on row
so he'd know where to hang each one,
know what his neighbour had borrowed,
and failed to return. From his pocket he removed
a black felt pen and in the corner on a board painted white,
he drew the perfect outline of a man.


Before she walked into the river
and didn't come back, the woman
who couldn't remember the day of the week
or the faces of her children,
made a list of all the men she's ever loved,
left it for her husband by the coffee pot,
his name on the bottom,
underlined twice
for emphasis.

Lorna Crozier
Toronto, Ontario

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