Poem on grocery list by Louise Carson

Mum
in her plain wooden box, blue suit, white hair. Dad
on the living room rug, brown shorts, belly distended, the Sûreté
du Québec pulling a sample, holding it up to the light.

Turned out to be what it looked like: blood mixed with gin.
Did he die on purpose? Not in the fall but by keeping it secret?
Did we break his heart? Our grief for Mum
shattered by his introducing a girlfriend.

We smiled at her with shark teeth.
Did he mind losing more of our love, respect?
The drunken phone calls, missing our mother, he said,
like the rest of us: eating cake, remembering bread. Still,

I’m glad I put my head in the box and kissed her,
stopped the gurney to stroke his head.

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