When we moved to Mossbank I was twelve. Mother
would sometimes stop us all from playing and send us
over to see her mother, who lived in a little house on
the South side of town

We never really knew what to say to her, or she to us,
and I never really until now thought about whose
shyness set that pace.

She was a nice enough lady and gave us cookies, and
she had diabetes and a leg that wasn’t there anymore.

She may have had grand stories to tell us, about her
family and childhood in England and Ontario and her
brother lost at sea, and the tough times and the good
times in the West, and our grandfather whom we’d
never met.

What was he like
Were we like him
Would we want to be?

These things would have been a leap into total honesty:
it was a leap we never took. We spent the afternoons in
leaps more comfortable to us all;

small colored marbles over
small colored marbles
in the inscrutability
of Chinese Checkers