//my sister's street
I loved our quiet street,
a perfect place for kids,
a school two blocks away,
similar courtyarded houses,
young couples about the same age
who became lifelong friends.
A microclimate where a constant breeze
cooled summer heat on blistering days,
a pleasant place to drink lemonade,
laze on chaises beneath shady, jade apricot trees,
left from earlier days,
when the neighborhood was an orchard,
watching the children play in a tiny plastic pool,
We all knew each other,
our kids were in and out
of each other’s houses and yards.
Then as if hit by
an oil spill of illness,
we began, one by one, to sicken with cancer.
So many, so many, most at an early age,
suffered the pain, the fear of early death.
At first I felt unique
when struck: then, disbelief.
“I’m still alive,” I said,
one spring morning,
sure I could beat the interloper the way
I’d knock off and kill a black widow spider
crawling on my breast.
Some whispered, “What’s causing the scourge? Maybe it’s normal?”
Nobody knew or knows, but the first to go was
long years ago, the latest died last week.