I am sleeping tonight side by side with my mother
on spring and feather, matching queen-sized mattresses,
in the adjoining room my brother and his family.
We’ve escaped Vancouver where father has died
for Victoria’s quaint tea and saucers, halibut and chips,
cream-filled chocolates, Salish art, a visit to eldest
brother’s duplex, parks for the grandkids to run free.
Distract us. Today, I leveraged grief for a table
at a packed restaurant. How long can we get away with
that? Mom ponders. Now, she surprises me, channel-
surfing: CSI New York, Evening News. Rest is all I want,
the narrow corridor between our beds, thirty-five years
between us, our islands of sorrow barely visible to each
other but I understand my role as company, as witness.

Andy Quan

Andy Quan is the author of four books, including two books of poetry, the most recent of which is Bowling Pin Fire. He has lived in Sydney since 1999 where he edits, writes, cycles, facebooks, watches reality TV cooking shows and coaxes rainbow lorikeets to his balcony. Visit him here at

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