After the Diagnosis

by Zannah Kearns

The woods are lonely, dark and deep
to Grandmother’s house, a squat bothy
on a hillside of rain.

She sits, her wooden chair pulled tight to the walnut table,
peeling carrots into ribbons as if readying reams of bunting
for an autumn fête.

Bending to kiss her, asking how her day’s been, I feel myself
a stranger in the way she doesn’t answer, but pulls a tissue from its box
and tucks it up her sleeve.

I’ve been watching animations — purple sparking neurons
dying like blown lightbulbs, one by one; killing off ‘memory
and the ability to think’.

Through the leaded window, we watch a fallow deer
step across the lawn, take a boule de neige rose in its mouth
and eat the pale bloom whole.