Friday, October 29, 2010


Slurping swallowing drinking coffee
followed with a short forced exhalation
possibly some coughing.

Grandpa's presence in the house often pre-announced by that noise
of breathing out like a steam train
releasing a burst of vapour.

Then the shuffling chugging gait of wool slippers on carpet.
The left step is shorter than the right.

Bending forward to change footwear
another billowing breath,
slippers off, shoes on.
Laces slowly taken on their course to tighten.

Grandpa the steam train.

He whistles as he goes around
reaches up to turn on the light and put on his hat.
Another trip to the doctor's to have some skin cancer removed.
This time from his upper left arm.
"Just a little thing. It'll only take three stitches" he says,
speculating a link between the location and a former flu shot.

8th of June for some ear removal.
4th of June to yet a different doctor for a "freeze job"
of liquid nitrogen to the face, burning something off.

He was a pale red headed young man
from an isolated fishing town on the west coast
who marched through Africa and Italy to fight for Canada.

Old men and old trains
the few who remain
getting low on steam