Making Her Night

In Central Park twilight,

we drop our holiday mood
like a heavy sweater in the heat
when that call sends us reeling
as leukemia sucks us
into its bell jar, rings
our ears, jangles
minds, reverberates
into bone.

We can’t lower that volume
but distraction is at hand–
tickets to Porgy and Bess
though I forget it begins
with a knife fight.

When Serena sings
“My man’s gone now,”
fear of what I might inherit
swoops like a chicken hawk,
rips my mask with icy talons;
I weep, ragged and raw.

We’re in the third row.
At least I make the actress’ night;
she thinks she’s done one heck
of an acting job, beaming
to me at her curtain call.

Deirdre Hennings’ poems have appeared in The Healing Muse, Ars Medica and The Writers Tribe Review. Her nonfiction piece “Thanksgiving” was performed by the Jewish Women’s Theatre as part of their 2017 show Matzo Ball Diaries in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles.

About the Poem

“This poem reflects a day in June 2012 when we learned, while on a trip to New York, that my husband had leukemia. I started writing poetry in 2014 after his successful bone-marrow transplant.”

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