I wish laughter were
the last thing to go
but it goes
before hearing,
before thought,
before breath,

this bubbling thing, this spasm,
this wriggling fish,
half muscle, half air,
that flops out of us,
with a hook in its flesh.

I wish, one last time, I had heard
the collapse of the tent
of your expectations—
that gasp of recognition
when reality set in, and shook

you—the slow motion surprise
of an elegiac comedy
or bumbling profundity; the swift
kick of irreverent rationality,
or elegant absurdity;

the canvas roof caved in
and you, sitting wrapped in the fly
with your laughter flopping—
silver, strange, familiar—
as walleye or trout,

on the hook end of breath:
half live,
half divine;
half tickle,
half shout.

Illustration by Susan MacLeod showing an elderly woman and man. She has her eyes closed. Neither are smiling.

To the End by Susan MacLeod

Listen to Anna Quon read “Laughter.”

About Anna Quon

Anna Quon is a Halifax poet, novelist, and budding filmmaker who likes to make short animated films of her original poetry. She is also a Baha'i, a middle-aged, mobility-impaired, mixed-race Mad woman, a writing workshop facilitator, and maker of messes.

About Susan MacLeod

Susan MacLeod is an artist writing and drawing about long-term care. Her humorous book, Dying for Attention: A Graphic Memoir of Nursing Home Care, is being released in October 2021 by Conundrum Press and follows her nine-year journey shepherding her mother though a callous system while nagging an indifferent sibling. She atones for once being the government spokesperson defending the very system she now experiences as brutally cold and non-communicative. Her illustrations have been published by Kaiser Permanente, Halifax Magazine, Lion’s Roar Magazine, Maisonneuve and The Globe and Mail. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NSCAD University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from the University of King’s College. Follow her work on Instagram, Humans of Saint Vincent’s, or visit her website,

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