Matinee

Patrick Phillips

After the biopsy,
after the bone scan,
after the consult and the crying,

for a few hours no one could find them,
not even my sister,
because it turns out

they’d gone to the movies.
Something tragic was playing,
something epic,

and so they went to the comedy
with their popcorn
and their cokes,

the old wife whispering everything twice,
the old husband
cupping a palm to his ear,

as the late sun lit up an orchard
behind the strip mall,
and they sat in the dark holding hands.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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PATRICK PHILLIPS is author of Chattahoochee, winner of the 2005 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, as well as a “Discovery”/The Nation Prize. His work has appeared in such journals as Poetry, The Nation, and Ploughshares. He has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, the U.S. Fulbright Commission, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He lives in New York.