Sounds of Reconstruction

They’re pounding out the broken sewer line beneath the street
at the intersection of major roads by our house, day and night
men and women move earth, drill new wells to control groundwater,
lay pipe, footings the size of shattered memories to bypass
the damaged places.

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Earth to Earth

You would have loved the simple maple box.
Corners smoothed and lid sealed tight,
we haven’t tried to pry it open yet.
It weighs more than I would have guessed,

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Even Now

Two decades ago, during my first week
as an X-ray tech, I watched a boy die.
He was, thankfully, not a boy I knew
or loved but one I’d gone to X-ray.

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Fourteen Months

from your ship in Vietnam.
Love letters.
Six pages in one of them
on the thin Navy stationary,
listing the ways you loved me.

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This Is How You Cope With Cancer

Bleach your hair,

get drunk on champagne,

pretend the left and right halves of your face are the exact same,

ignore and deny it, laugh loudly–too loudly,

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I Should Have Said No

Can you see this patient today?
His appointment is tomorrow,
he came all the way from Nebraska.
Can you work extra tomorrow,
we are short, just four hours extra?
Would you be able to work Christmas this year?

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Flashback

I notice the name on the waiting room
tab; it’s not a remarkable name,
but one I remember
from elementary school

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Blue Book

Days before she died

my mother stood in line,

took a picture for a passport—

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