The Cancer’s Tale

We wait.

We Do.

All born souls queue

Up to ascend where

Unknown certainty begins

And known uncertainty ends.

We sit.

In stillness our

Hair billowing, bodies

Skin covered in ripped sheets

The bark on eucalyptus trunks,

Bent from blow back towards

The earth, arched away from the sea

Arms outstretched

As if to grab something

That’s behind them

Like a runaway a dream

Or a lost child.

I think, “how limber”

Coats lined in misplaced trees

Searching the land

But not belonging on

This continent where

Their branches suffocate sparrows

Dead and flightless

Laying in the shade of their foreign leaves.

Let’s use up those tourist trees instead

Belonging in another hemisphere anyway.

Use them for pens and walls,

They deserve to die – not

Native redwoods and sequoias

Whose needle hair holds

Those human-sized

Fatted trunks where

Locked inside the bark

We saw off gifts worse than their bite.

We drink.

Clear cold words

Pouring down our throats.

Stopping to read

Unbound leaves of golden red-fire.

Our thirst

Like the trees

Sipping through tiny straws, the roots

Magic wells fill with rain in the sunlight.

The slight of branches

Trick the sap into the trunks turing it into life’s blood.

The ax wielded by

The mind thirsty still

For more fruit, more nectar

More magic.

We read.

Pulp fiction

Dedicated to the willow

Growing in the fringe

Of the yard where

Someone’s mother planted

Her husband or sister

And we see her from the rotted old wood swing

Moored like a ghost ship

Out of time, out of our sites.

We travel.

Returning from the east

Heading out to the desert, west

On the horizon where warmth sinks fast in winter.

The hour’s late and dinner’s cold, politely

I sit chattering, shivering very quietly with my hands on my lap

Like a good child

Quiet in my discomfort.

Never complaining

The chill in the house freezing any love

Out into the wilderness

Get lost or turned free.

Sudden and without announcement

The next book begins

The old book returns to the building on the hill.

Scoundrels sneaking away with a story or two.

We finish.

Bookends holding up

Our bodies on the shelf

Related to no one

Left to right.

Packed up and traded

To clear the way

Leaves fall, memories

Raked up and bagged

Hauled away.

Nicely mowed lawn,

Honey, dripping, life like hives in neat rows on streets called Elm, Pine, and Main.

Painted the color of Spring bulbs they pop

And remind you of

Someone you knew

Or a character

From a book

Once borrowed

Now, long overdue.

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