Because I Did Not See

Deirdre Hennings



By Deirdre Hennings



On sait connu les Café Des Trois Colombes

au rendezvous des amours sans abris…


We know the Café of the Three Doves

The rendezvous of lovers without refuge



Joe Dassin’s lyrical melody washes over me

recalling our joyous summer in Montreal,

compelling my limbs to

lift and linger in the evening air

timeless again

dancing for him as I used to

warm and sweet, sensual and smiling.

We kiss tenderly

before I paddle off to make toast.


But before I sense anything

he barks that it’s burning.


I pop up the bread—

untoasted, I see nothing amiss—but it’s too late.

His over-chemo’d body slumps

as he holds his stomach,

pain clouding his face.

“Why do you always do this?” he cries.

But I did nothing

except fail to notice an errant

drip of soup waiting on the toaster top to burn.


Now he is nauseous again and the evening is ruined

because I did not anticipate

because I did not see.



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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Munk School of Global Affairs, and Mount Sinai Hospital.

Canada Council for the Arts
Munk School of Global Affairs
Mount Sinai Hospital