Thursday, July 11, 2019


Our cancer patient plans big trips now.
Africa. Europe, Puerto Rico.
Not knowing how much time is left,
she will fill her glass to its
tipping point.

She will keep moving,
open her weary eyes wider,
stick out her parched tongue more often
 (though the taste buds are toast).

Her finger tips seek every sensation.
Nostrils flared, she tips her head
to hear this earth like never before,

to make it stream through her wool sweater,
her bald head, to force every remaining hair
on her body to tingle.

She carries her new life
as a baby chick in her swollen hands,
never taking her eyes off it.

She will pour breath down her blistered throat,
gulping it whole
the way a boa swallows the fawn.

Remission is only
intermission, she explains.

The night before

Tonight a bitter, bitter, bitter smell
of old olive trees shading my ground.

Bitter the scent of last week's chow mein
strangles every room.

Bitter, bitter, bitter the wind chime
wheezing beyond the door.

Bitter bitter seems all
outside and in.

All flesh, all down, all spider skein.
All of it sour, hard to swallow.

This bitter night before the morning
when I learn she's cured.

Bitter acid pools the food, the sleep tonight.
This bitter body shaking

Like a bitter bloated flatfish dying
at the bottom of the pail.

Only days ago, fresh

These berries, only
days ago plucked,
now sprout
a polar fur.

chemistry finds another
nest to lay its egg.

Life invades from every
opportunity of light, of
drop, of death.
Thirsty and temporary.

One of many
strange things
about this world.