by David Fraser

Maybe she settled for the first guy
in khaki who could dance and being the first
stuck with him despite the bar room brawls,
sergeant knocked down to private before getting hitched,
taking the boat across the Atlantic,
like all the other girls, some with babies
their mates had never seen,
some left at the dock
because no one came to take them
to a ranch at Yonge and Bay,
when maybe she should have married a farmer,
drove a tractor, tanned, brown as a berry,
let a border collie round-up the sheep,
hoed rows of turnip, not scrimped, not existed
for meager toil, and lived with his rotten teeth,
his tendency to flare.
Maybe if she hadn’t settled
for washing floors, laundry, chasing other
people’s dust instead of something
with a bit of passion in it,
tending the wounded,
comforting the sick,
with all her tenderness.

Maybe there came a time when she’d
walked that road too long,
with heavy sacks of what she really didn’t want,
too long a time, that she couldn’t change
and had to settle, could only go
to his palliative-care site every other day,
not every day, because she couldn’t take it any more,
and sit the allotted time, she thought was appropriate,
not talking, not touching, just sitting there,
settled, as it were, upon a chair.

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

David Fraser lives in Nanoose Bay, BC, on Vancouver Island. His poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry, and recently in Tesseracts 18. He has published five collections of poetry and is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. His next collection, After All the Scissor Work is Done is forthcoming in the fall of 2015 published by Leaf Press.


This is such a good look and insight into what could be going on behind someone you see just sitting in a hospital room. Having sat in such chairs many hours with my (now passed on) mother I appreciate this. Well-done portrait of this woman. Very nice recording.
Sarah Rohrs, Jan 05, 2015