Wednesday, 25 May 2022


Door Wide Open

by Laura Ann Reed

When my husband lunged for the phone
and carried it out of the room, I guessed
it was his sister with news about their dad.
I had dinner on the stove, but I wanted
to be with him if the news was bad.
So I set the pans on trivets and ran
out of kitchen and through the house
after him. He wasn’t in the living room
or bedroom. Then I saw light coming
from the master bath—and since the door
was wide open I marched right in, prepared
to find him phone in hand, crying. I planned
to take his arm, to stay with him and tell
him all those things he told me when
my father died. But there he was, sitting
on the john with his jeans around his feet.
He looked up at me as if seeing a ghost.
I backed out fast, mumbling, Sorry!
I know plenty of couples who likely
think nothing of seeing each other pee
and poop, no big deal. But that’s not us.
We have a lot of Puritan in our blood.
I’d just finished getting food onto plates
when he came back, leaned on the counter
and cleared his throat. In that old teasing
voice, he said, Well, I guess I can come
into the bathroom
when you’re on the pot.
I turned from the stove, almost grateful
to see his grin. He stood framed in the glow
of late-day sun streaming through the pane
behind him, his head haloed by rosy light.
Oh no you won’t, I said, Not if you want
to live.
I kept my tone quiet and calm.
Because after all, his father was dying.

* * * * *

Laura Ann Reed received a dual BA in French/Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and subsequently completed Master’s Degree Programs in the Performing Arts and Psychology. She was a dancer in the San Francisco Bay Area prior to assuming the role of Leadership Development Trainer at the San Francisco headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She and her husband now reside in western Washington. Her work has been anthologized in How To Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, and has appeared or is forthcoming in MacQueen’s Quinterly, The Ekphrastic Review, and Willawaw, among other journals.  

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