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Rusted nearly through at the base
of their pale green throat,
the amaryllis buds are trying to bloom,
like a person with a tracheotomy
trying to say a poem.
I snip off the buds, leaking dark red
from their diseased wound, trimming
them to clean pale stubs to put in water.
Day to day, the largest furled bud
is loosening into white
Priscilla Mainardi ~
Your skin pale with worry,
your mouth a straight line,
the fear in your eyes–
all this told me,
more than the nausea,
more than the fact that I couldn’t move my head,
that something was really wrong.
You thought I wouldn’t see.
I looked up at the ceiling,
at its pattern of dots,
white, and brighter white,
Richard Weiss ~
At two am its insistent ring ambushes me awake.
I whisper, not wanting to disturb my wife or rouse
the dog who will whine for food, write down
the name and number before it’s jumbled, swallow
my resentment on being awakened and listen
to his story–then ask those practiced questions,
scrolling his body from one organ to another.
Tell me about the pain–what it
I donated blood today. I’m one of those people who doesn’t shudder at the thought of needles piercing my skin, or get queasy as I watch the blood drain from my vein into the collection bag. It’s no big deal. I eat the cookies and drink the juice afterwards, and I kind of enjoy talking with the elderly volunteers.
I think I’m lucky. I know so many people who are sickened
Sheila Solomon Klass
Sunday, September 26 of this past year began normally enough. I did what I do every day, first thing: I put on my glasses and tested my vision. I’m eighty-three years old, and although I’ve always been nearsighted and have lived with glaucoma for thirty years, I’ve developed a worse complaint: AMD, age-related macular degeneration, in my left eye.
My ophthalmologist diagnosed the AMD after I told him that, when I was