Diagnosing Minor Illness in Children is a striking third collection by one of Canada’s most essential poets. Kerry Ryan stares without flinching at everything in her path: family, grief, dog obituaries, fine-toothed lice combs, quotidian gore, a water slide that is “not a slide, it’s a throat closing in,” and herself as mother. The collection is replete with self-doubt and thorny humour, as when the speaker struggles to suckle a wolf pup while admiring the softness of her daughter’s cheek. The poet, while staying close to home, sees herself (and us) in birds blown thousands of kilometres off course, and in reindeer defending their young. Ryan’s vision of motherhood and midlife is fierce, edgy, and tender.