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Some Small Cluster Of Yellow

When did my father first realize he might never see the house 

in Cape Breton again. Might never get to repair the expanse of oak 

bridge he built himself; that arcs across our beaver-rippled lake.  

Never swing another blue-grey stone across the Atlantic’s tumble.

When did my father first realize he might never hug his own children  

again; might never pat me on the back again, saying; Hey, love ya, kid. 

Might never swing his grandchildren around in airborne circles again, 

not hoist them into strong arms, not cradle them in warm cave of lap.

When did he realize he’d probably seen his last movie in a theatre. 

I remember how much he loved to get the biggest tub of popcorn,  

always finishing the whole thing, or insisting we take the rest home. 

He hated modern trailers, complained they gave away the whole dang story.

When did he realize my parents would likely never again use their season  

tickets to the Opera. He wore tautly pressed khakis and a suit jacket.  

My parents ate Jordan almonds at intermission, backdropped by red  velvet 

drapes. Mammoth chandeliers above; electric birthday cakes.

It feels like everything is endings now— just today, my mother told  

me that my favorite uncle, her only brother, will soon die. Because 

she can’t risk getting on an airplane, can’t risk getting my father sick, 

she will not see her brother buried. Everything is endings, and I am

just praying for a specialist; someone, anyone who knows what they’re 

talking about; to take my own case. It’s as if the entire family fell ill at 

once, when really, each of our diseases has its own origin story. Each, 

in its own way, long-simmering. Cooked into us years ago.

My Uncle and I were going to take a road trip cross-country 

together. My father and I have hot air balloons to ride; we have art 

museums to meander through; we have movies, damn it, to watch 

together. He always let me butter the popcorn, bought us waxy 

Twizzlers too.

Named Robin after father Robert, I need to remember the parts  

of me that are bird; that can fly; that have tail feathers to propel  

themselves above the smog and the pain. I need to recall joy. 

Everything is endings now, and I search every crack in sidewalks

outside my building for daffodil or dandelion. Some small cluster 

of yellow thrusting toward sky. Some small evidence that life  

continues despite pain’s ravages. I pluck a tiny yellow sun from 

sidewalk crack. Cradling it to my chest, I let it sear my heart gold.

trailing-off (Jake photo).jpg

About the Author

Robin Kinzer is a queer, disabled poet, memoirist, teacher, and editor. Robin has poems and essays published, or forthcoming, in Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Blood Orange Review, fifth wheel press, Delicate Friend, Anti-Heroin Chic, and others. She’s a Poetry Editor for the winnow magazine, and Poetry Editor for The Broadkill Review starting in Spring 2023. She loves glitter, Ferris wheels, vintage fashion, sloths, and radical empathy. She can be found on Twitter at @RobinAKinzer and at

Up Next: The Ocean

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