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January 2017, vol 12 no 4

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Fred Lowe

The Woman with Cancer

I’d heard she’d had cancer, but then I heard it was in remission. Every morning I’d her see when she walked her dogs down to the river. I’d often stand on the old railroad bed to watch. The larger dog, some sort of retriever, would plunge right in. Then the woman and the dog would find a big stick. She would toss it; he’d rush to get it before the current carried it away. The little dog, Chihuahua-sized, ran along the shore yapping, as if to cheer the big dog on.

I ran into her one morning in the coffee shop. We got our coffee and walked together, she and I and the dogs, down the path to the river. I remarked that she looked tired. I meant it as an innocent observation. She turned toward me, said nothing. I saw the yellow tinge of her skin, the deep grooves in her face.

A sudden blast of snow filled the air, erasing the far shore. She and the big dog found a stick. While the dog fetched, she stood there silently.

in the blur ululations of wild geese