Magazine article The Antioch Review

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Magazine article The Antioch Review

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Article excerpt

She had told no one. She was playing solitaire. I read the morning paper. My father, outside, brought cordwood to the house in a blue wheelbarrow.

There was the slick sound of a playing card on the maple table, a slap that signaled a finality. I glanced up & met the blue eyes of my own beginning.

When my mother said, "cancer," the word was set upon the whiteness of accumulating snow.

And when I still didn't understand she asked me to touch it, her mortal secret.

Modest, we both turned away while my fingers felt the knot, all that remained of my mother's breast.

"Don't tell your father. Don't tell." Outside the window the snow fell, a vow of silence, white ashes.

No one, neither doctor nor husband, had touched this. She had been alone with her body for a long time.

The only sound was the snap of wood in the fireplace, the blue flame burning.

I'd been reading about a woman lost on a remote road in Nevada. …

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