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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 3, September 2015

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Deidra Greenleaf Allan
Flourtown, Pennsylvania, USA


Calculations

“Hunger’s for the healthy,” he says, putting down the sandwich, uneaten. I perch on the edge of an overstuffed chair, trying to avoid being swallowed. His speech at slower rpm now, as if lining up words in his head before letting them go. His thin bare legs stretch toward me like pale stalks growing from the baggy bloom of his shorts. I listen to him talk as I trace his family chronology on the wall: photos of births, communions, weddings, more births. We reminisce about high school times, our families’ triumphs and troubles . . . discuss the details of his illness. It always comes back to this. “Two months on the outside,” he tells me, exact as a scientist, as a mathematician. I make calculations, too, deciding which good-bye I’ll need to give.

brown leaves collect
at the dying man’s door
first mourners

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