grapes on a bedside table
My brother wears a blue gown with a matching tube poking from his nose. In a strangled voice, he tells me he fears drowning whenever they feed him. In a desperate attempt at light-heartedness, I babble about my hair. Formerly blonde, I now sport chestnut locks. The strands are long, straight. “Like the lead singer’s in the Seekers,” I say, forcing a wonky smile. I realise I have come empty-handed. My right palm feels itchy.
His partner stands beside his pillow. Her glance towards his chemo induced alopecia and back to me tells me she is there to combat unseemliness. “Your brother wouldn’t stand for dyed hair,” she says, as if he has already passed, or at least gone deaf. Surprised, I see him wink. I remember how he used to ride bareback, no saddle, no boots on his feet. Daring the odds. I smile more easily now.
private room –
at the window