Elegy for My Mother-in-Law Doctor Bo told her the news pregnancy confirmed no matter how unlikely at her age, 84, admitted for inability to control pain only to have her exile revealed in cancer’s return. She is clearly concerned who the father might be so the nurses in oncology throw a shower, a sheet cake & some silly gifts to mask all the plague worries for a moment, secure in a bubble of negative tests to pretend new life is on the way & that’s why we’re all here. She is a grifter to the end, dementia scale be damned, she’s gonna keep stonewalling like Nixon since for her it’s still the seventies. The last thing she will forget is her feel for a long-game lie. Her son keeps finding ammo for guns she swears she never had. Her secret lover in the service is a swirl of pronouns she worries might get furlough & arrive & today she’s sure he’s not her husband. Loveliness in such lifelong fidelity: toothless at the last but still turning new marks, working a story even she can’t remember.
Ted Lord lives in Seattle where he works as a philanthropic sherpa, helping families and foundations with giving and nonprofits with planning. He is a past Executive Director of Humanities Washington and of the Pride Foundation. His work has appeared in North American Review, Nimrod, Indiana Review, Kansas Quarterly, and River Styx.