She says her husband doesn’t make it to the bathroom.

She says her husband stares at himself in the bathroom

mirror at midnight. When her husband comes back,

he just stands there looking down at the indentation

his body made beside her, observing the vacancy.


Does this mean the tumor’s grown, she asks,

or is it because of the weaning, the gradual reduction

of anti-inflammatories? Out the bay window,

snow is falling. Around the kitchen table,

people chatter about substituting cranberries

for marshmallows in the baked yams, the benefits maple

syrup over brown sugar, and what about fresh green beans

instead of canned? Recipes for stuffed mushrooms,

blending batter for pumpkin pancakes. I sink

into my captain’s chair, cradling coffee in both hands.

Outside the snow shifts like static. Falling all the time.


People chatter about substituting the chain links

for new pickets. Setting the posts in cement.

Getting started Wednesday. Renting the augur, breaking out

the reciprocating saw. People chatter. Snow unloads

more snow out the bay window, more and more

snow out of the sky’s dark wardrobe.