Grace was my father’s last doctor,
who walked like the front half of a pony costume
or a chubby spy, always looking behind her.
She braided her flyaway hair into a bun so tight
it slanted her eyelids nearly shut.
Too earnest to improvise chit-chat,
she set out to memorize every joke in one
year of the big-print Reader’s Digest,
which freed her to laugh with her dying cancer patients,
then pat them with the chapped hands of a shy child.