First Visit

Allan Peterkin

He told me
in passing
somewhere in the list
of bad luck and
bad choices
all the things
that had somehow
brought him here

This telling
was so soft
as to be dream-like
she had 
off a ride
at the county fair
on a day he 
was trying to be her dad
Didn’t make it 
was all he said 
then moved on
to the next wreck
(the first divorce)

I didn’t ask
what I wanted to
how old
was it a rollercoaster

one thing 
all the weight

is where
I put my pen down

Where I looked in his face 
and found something
other than pity.

About the poet:

Allan Peterkin is a Toronto doctor and writer. He heads the Health, Arts and Humanities Program at the University of Toronto and is a founding editor of ARS MEDICA: A Journal of Medicine, the Arts and Humanities.

About the poem: 

“The inspiration for the poem came from a newspaper clipping about an accident at a fair where a young girl fell off a ride. I started thinking about how losing a child in this way might unravel a life.”

Poetry editors: 

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro

About the Poem


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