by Tyler Bigney
I like the way the Asian girl
at Tim Horton’s prepares my
frozen raspberry smoothie, always
an extra shot of syrup. Something
to look forward to, a reason to get
out of bed in the morning, a reason not to
kill myself. Nights I am stirred
awake by lecherous sadness,
listening to the lady below me
coughing up blood, dying of cancer.
We never speak, but it’s become
part of my routine that
when I hear her come home,
I go outside to hold the door
open, help her with her bags,
help her up the stairs. Laying there,
I try to think other things, but
I’m often too tired to think, and
where I once could shake the
sadness, I can no longer. My
dreams drowning in oblivion.
Two mornings ago I stumbled
into the bathroom, following my
heavy heart, standing in front
of the mirror. I stared myself
down like they do in the old
western movies, to see what,
if anything, was left – I whispered
for myself to come up with
one good reason, just one. I held a razor
up to the light, angling it
so that it shined. The lady below
coughed once, twice, three times,
then spit the blood into the
yellow bowl beside her bed.
I put the razor back under the sink.
I flicked off the light, and walked
back to bed, knowing tomorrow
she’d need someone to hold the door open.