Near the end, her mouth was pinned down

at the corners, a cartoon of disappointment

she could no longer voice. What was left to her?

Feeble body, failing mind, long marriage ended,

dead friends and far‐flung, unavailable children

with their practical admonitions: paint, exercise,

write, walk. The endless, undifferentiated

afternoons. Snow. Summer. Snow again. A fall.

Her mouth, so at odds with the groomed

silver bob and striped Picasso jerseys,

looked abandoned, stripped of all hope

the front door could suddenly pop open

like a long­‐sealed jar, bringing the outside in

as fresh news or bread, or as love, stamping

snow from its boots, leaving waffles of ice

to melt across the tiled vestibule floor,

the shapes drawn in dried salt by morning.





Julie Bruck is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Monkey Ranch (Brick Books, 2012). Her work has appeared in Ms., Ploughshares, Numero Cinq, The New Yorker, and many other journals and magazines. She was the recipient of Canada’s 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry.



Issue #63 October 2016
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