Thursday, December 6, 2007




One midsummer day
when she was five,
she taunted
through the echoing sound of the waves
which pounded the outer shore
of Pleasant Bay,
"Nyah, nyah, you're older than me
so you'll die first."
She ran off, laughing,
curls stretching out
like tiny golden Slinkies
glinting in incandescent summer sun,
onto the bluff
overlooking the bay
where creamy
Queen Anne's Lace
swayed with tall grass
in the cool salty breeze.

I felt filled with bubbles,
fizzy with joy,
as we played that day
though I tucked away
what she had to say.
I was not upset.
I already knew.

"You're so young,
you don't have to worry,"
her doctor reassured her,
telling her to come back
in a couple of months if she
was still concerned.
Her youngest child
was two when she
finally had surgery.


Of the inspected nodes
one was detected
which death had already
hungrily homesteaded.
She and I held each other,
when we learned
death had snuck back
and was chewing on her bones.
Resting in bed against two pillows,
her crutches leaning
on the wall beside her,
her beautiful head
bare without its curly hair,
she said quietly,
"I wouldn't mind so much
if it weren't for the children."

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