Mother’s high heeled boots track
a path to nowhere.
In the coffin
she looks betrayed, as if caught
doing something she is ashamed of.
Winter in Montreal, so cold
your nostrils stick together
on those long walks after storms.
Once Peter, lost in his own good looks
rang my doorbell to celebrate
the first snow. I think now
it was only some romantic
version of himself that led him to my front door
a snowflake riding his lash.
Years later he showed up after Father’s funeral,
wearing knee high boots, smoking non-stop
declaring cancer scare a farce.
Back from the cemetery, where an old woman stood in the cold,
palm out asking,
something for the living?
We sat on low wooden chairs in the living room
where for years, my father slept, and drank himself
as far as he could get from my mother’s death.
So strange to be in that room, his paintings
on the wall, brilliant and brooding,
brushstrokes as intimate as breath.