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Krisztina Fehervari

first published in Foliate Oak


First it was Dad,

But it didn’t hit me,

‘Cause I was young and busy

With my own family.

Cancer wasn’t real to me,

And I let him go easily.

Then, when it was Mom’s turn,

I cried and mourned and couldn’t believe

That our generation was next.


But I still had you. 

And we talked and healed and remembered. 

And when our kids were gone,

Busy with their own families,

You moved two houses down from me.

And every Tuesday and Friday, over breakfast,

We conjured our past,

And our childhood came back; 

Mom and Dad, Uncle Fred,

Tom, the neighbor, with his crooked teeth

And his one-sided smile,

Mrs. Barrymore and her spoiled cat,

Mr. Thomson, the math teacher,

Whose numbers were slow and fat.

And what was the name of that skinny girl,

You know the one, who limped,

But could run like a jaguar?

Nancy? Mary? Brittany?

Oh, you’re right, Lucy.


Cancer is deadly. Irreversible.

I see it now. And I sit,

My hands trembling,

As to the rhythm of the clock ticking,

The half-eaten toast staring back at me.

Your plate is empty. Clean. Untouched.  

And I can’t remember the name

of Mrs. Barrymore’s cat.

Sniffy? Lily? Spotty?


Who will tell me?

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