by Lorna Crozier

Is there anything as honest as bones?
A fish perhaps, but then it’s riddled with them.

With her fingers my mother picked the bones
from the pickerel Father caught

before she passed the plate for me to eat.
Every day she choked on something.

Drunk by noon, my father pulled her to him
by her apron strings and mumbled in her ear,

Do you love me? The fridge, the stove,
the kitchen sink waited for her reply.

Something twisted in my gut as she turned away
and wiped the counter clean.

Around the rim of my plate, the bones delicate
and thin as minute markings on a watch

measured, as they would inside a fish, the slow
and grievous passing of our time.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 1