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While cycling out of Chéticamp by Bill Garvey

While cycling out of Chéticamp

for Kathy

I am thinking of you and Mike

on your way to Baddeck in a cab

then driving to Portland

to catch a flight to Cleveland

because your sister has opted against intubation,

a word I had to Google,

and I’m quite sure

I’ve never even heard of Farmer’s Lung

when I see a boy burst from the door

of a yellow house

and dash through the yard

like a blur without a care in the world

until he is gone

and there is only the blinding sea.

I am thinking of the call you took

while the rest of us

ordered eggs and toast

and you heard there would be no donor,

no pair of lungs to lie

like new pillows in your sister’s chest

and I start to wonder what if she was my sister,

and what yours will say

to you in that pause between words,

that silence

our eyes can’t seem to endure

when I see an old man on a mower

kill the engine,

doff his cap and smile

as I pedal past hedges of wild roses

splashed along the coast,

rose hips dangling like bunches of grapes

that sailors

would suck for the vitamin C.

I imagine the barn where she bred horses,

mold spores drifting

on sunlit air

dusting her lungs with disease.

By now, maybe you’ve made it to Saint John

or even the border.

It’s been hours since I saw that boy.


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