My father drives from his end of the island to mine, bearing an article establishing a link between soy and breast cancer. Without a word, still wearing his coat, shoulders heavy with snow, he goes straight for my fridge.
“Death has a life of its own,” he says.
(“Doesn’t it worry you,” I ask my sister, “not having a healthy role model for our golden years?”
“Tell him to replace that soy milk you splash in your coffee,” she says. “You’re not made of money.”)
What is my father made of, these days? As he floods his body with phytochemicals, flavonoids, and antioxidants? Bricks of dark chocolate to soften arteries, fistfuls of walnuts to elasticize blood vessels, gallons of pomegranate juice to put down cellular mutiny?
My father calls this his medicine. Taken with the same pleasure as an aspirin. Overwhelming his body with mixed messages. I can relate. His concern tends to feel like punishment. Leading you to find comfort in the dimpled arms of semi-solids.
But never full rebellion. That only occurs to children who don’t take the time, at least once a day, to scare themselves shitless.
Why am I thinking about snow angels, a grown woman watching her father pour Soy Dream down her sink? Mine always resembled the imprints of stroke victims. Lying in the snow I flapped my wings until my shoulders ached.
Inside the house, a 40-year-old man with two teenaged daughters. Consoles himself with a brick of halvah.
* * *
Rebecca Leah Păpucaru is an internationally published poet, and currently a PhD student at the University of Montreal, Canada. Her poetry and prose have been shortlisted for a number of awards in Canada, including Arc Magazine‘s Poem of the Year. Her poetry has been anthologized in the 2010 edition of The Best Canadian Poetry in English (guest editor Lorna Crozier).