The Best 10 Minutes of Your Life

Zoe Whittall

Thanksgiving in Dundas
Hitching the Hamilton highway
styrofoam hot chocolate
from a steeltown diner
waiting, the most precise
measurement of patience

Her building elevator holds
specific movements
the first time I let desire
slip my hand to her neck
lips to mine
palms cupping
the surveillance camera

We are older now
practically married,
she is cooking in her father’s kitchen
roasting carrots and yams
home in her fingers

She fought hardest to stay here

I do the shy family shuffle
watching as she holds
sister, brother, father
together like paper valentines

Post-meal, walking exhausted
backseat of smoking cars
I listen as she and her brother talk
unwavering love
the pain of her insight
invisible to the siblings
she protects at any cost

Recognizing violence
she has learned to recognize grace
in others
clear as day over turkey leftovers
drives to the orchard
she holds them together

and her love holds me