The Tender Roof


 Kent Leatham

 

These things happen. There's nothing

beautiful about it. She gave up her breasts

 

two years ago, but the cancer returned, pushing

through the sutures, the larval wasp consuming

 

the spider. This morning at the nursing home

the doctor could have said, It's like a glacier:

 

she'll die of pneumonia or a broken hip

long before it moves from one end of her life

 

to the other. Instead, he stood there with his

buttoned white coat, and told us that soon

 

she would start to smell. A child once asked

if a meteor at dusk was the needle of the woman

 

who sews the stars into place. Yes, I said. Yes.

At the nursing home, a clock in the hallway

 

hasn't been wound. I can see the minutes

pressed against the glass, hear the teeth click.