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.