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Cancer

Good for You

My wife and I, both in our late thirties, have a friend named Patricia who lives by herself in a very small apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Her taste is Japanese. Patricia is the mother of another good friend, a woman more or less our age [...]

Impossible Bottle. By Claudia Emerson. LSU, 2015. 65p. PB, $17.95.

Ecstatic Sorrow

Claudia Emerson, who died in December 2014, had come to be known as a poet capable of revealing startling discoveries inside quiet, quotidian circumstances. Her poems are set mostly in Southern rural and small-town scenes, moments in ordinary lives that would normally elude anyone else’s attention.

André Wee

Kitty Hawk

Until her father died, Sissy Willard’s parents took her and her two brothers out of school every year at the end of April to spend a week in Kitty Hawk, and every year they stayed in the same old beachfront high-rise, the Ocean Vista.

Love Song for the Mother of No Children

You followed Oleta Esteban every time you saw her. At the grocery store she was buying frozen peas, milk and bread, chicken broth, two bananas. Is this what women ate after they lost their children? Oleta looked as if she scavenged crumbs left for birds, seeds scattered. Brittle, she was, an old child, thin bones beneath yellow skin, suddenly, terribly visible.

You remembered her in a red dress and white sandals, Oleta before Dorrie and Elia died, arms bare, toenails painted. She dropped her sandals in the dark grass to dance with her children barefoot.

Morphine

Despite tests and retests—her mammogram dittoed across clinic walls like some sick Warhol print—Sarah had not understood her disease until she'd sketched the body it was quickly dismantling. Yet facets of dying remain welcome. There is the peculiar silence. No one can understand what she is going through. No one is fool enough to try.