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Poems

Middle-aged Daughter

(after Susan Vespoli)

I like to think she stopped searching
for the next hobby, the next career,
the next diagnosis.

That she’s thriving

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Often Described As

the most terrible pain known to man,
trigeminal neuralgia
ricochets around my face, pulsing
electric-shocks. My doctor advises

cutting the nerve in

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Harvest

In early morning appointments,
the doctor’s coat reeks of cigarettes
as he moves closer,
says “Scoot down,”
inserts the probe.

They

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The Sturgeon

Kind eyes, and a fragile body like a reed
Barely just a presence on the room, as if almost fading
Already into the

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Enough

Her idea of a date is splitting
a six-pack with her husband
Friday nights while milking the cows,
still weary from her

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The Bite

In the springtime, a zombie showed up,
breaking down our door and biting me.

Friends and neighbors asked questions,
not daring to come

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Prognosis

Small birds teeter
on the wires by the feedstore.

Crows scatter broken seedpods
beneath the streetlight.

Flowering weeds crowd the dusty sidewalk,

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Brain Scan

I slide into the MRI machine.
Sleds slide downhill, propelled by their own weight;
my movement’s horizontal, made through means

outside of my

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Song of the Body

You wake up in pain, again.
That thoracic disc twisting in on itself
like a corkscrew unable
to spiral back out of

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