7 lbs. 6 oz.
Some things about my sister Beth
that I can’t think about for too long
without getting sad and confused:
1. The time we went to the Bracebridge
Dairy for cherry pie and vanilla ice
cream and she took too long in the
bathroom, so I kept knocking on the
door, and when she emerged she said,
“My life is hard, you know.”
2. The time I blew snot out my nose
and rubbed it in her hair in front of
the boys from down the way who
were already afraid of her.
3. The time my aunt said at the family
reunion that she ruined everything.
4. The time some kids threw snowballs
at us on the way home from school,
and the ones they threw at her had
stones in them.
5. The time a man gave her an engage-
ment ring that was too big for her
finger so it came off during the night
in her bed, and the staff at the group
home found and returned it to the
man, who’d spent his disability
allowance on it, and she thought he
had broken up with her because she
lost the ring, and nobody ever told
her anything different.
6. The time I looked in her purse and
found nothing but scraps of paper so
covered in writing there was hardly
any white left on the pages.
7. The time my mother told me she had
a normal birth weight, 7lbs. 6 oz.,
but an abnormal delivery because a
bully nurse shoved her back in and
held her until the doctor arrived.
8. The first time she became an
outpatient at the Clarke Institute of
Psychiatry and wrote this list to
remember the layout:
Dr. Jeffries’ Office
Day Care Centre
9. The time I found her poem Lies in
Lovely, Sense of Humour
Educated, Famous, Smiling
Lies, Full of Lies, A Wheat Sheaf Full of Lies.
7 lbs. 6 oz. was previously published in Geist Magazine, Exile Literary Quarterly, and The Best of the Best of Canadian Poetry.
Lenore Rowntree is a Vancouver painter and writer who lives in Vancouver and Gibsons. Her collection of stories See You Later Maybe Never (Now or Never Publishing) was released in October 2022. She is an editor and contributor to Hidden Lives: True Stories from People Who Live with Mental Illness (Touchwood Editions).