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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.