Second Chance
by Iain Macdonald

If we were granted
one more day together,
an unforeseen gift
from some fairytale world,
there is nothing important
I would have to tell you,
having already said
everything there was to say
during those long hours
at your bedside
as all the years came down
to hours and then
the silence between breathing.

Instead, let us sit
with toast and coffee
while the sun brightens
the back garden
and the small cat curves
happily between our feet
and simply share
whatever comes to mind
as the whole day
spreads out before us,
barely begun.


Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland,
Iain Macdonald has
earned his bread and beer in a variety of ways, from factory hand
to merchant marine officer.  Macdonald currently lives in Arcata,
California, where he works as a high school English teacher.  His
Plotting the Course and Transit Report were
published by March Street Press.

On “Second Chance”:
After caring for my mother as she was dying from cancer, I
wrote several poems filled with details specific to the
circumstances of her death and its aftermath.  I see “Second
Chance” as a transitional poem from that period because,
while it is shaped by my thoughts and memories of her, I hope
it is also accessible to readers who have their own unique
experience of similar situations.  On a beautiful spring morning
in California, I was taken unawares by one of my mother’s
favorite sayings—“It’s a great day for Gourock!” (by which
she meant that the weather demanded a train trip down the
River Clyde to the small Scottish town of her birth)—and the
poem somehow developed from there.  Ultimately, what we
remember and what we miss about loved ones who are gone
is not time spent together on some once-in-a-lifetime
Caribbean cruise; rather, we remember the ordinary, everyday
moments of conversation, and cups of tea, and one another’s
company, a small cat curling around our ankles.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 8, Number 1
(Spring 2013)

Copyright © 2013
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.