Poem (5)

The Saturday poem, late, here now.

ivy

in the house where there is cancer
silence is huge like milk
there are sirens, phosphorus,
and a gentle understanding of stoplights.

in the house where there is cancer
there is shrapnel
and dried leaves that long to be a river

sally, my mother, sally
in your chaste hospital bed
your ignorance was a shield of tulips
your cattle eyes flickered
sad robot, functioning
could you smell the gunpowder in my hair?

i want to cry saying your name, ma
because your eighteen faces are sinking

i’ll never forget the calcium of your jawbone
the half-eaten animal noises
your counterfeit self
shimmering, dying elbows
i was crying that way,
that day

in the house where there is cancer
vases reluctantly break the hearts of magnolias
and the ache of pomegranates goes unspoken

in the house where there is cancer
fire escapes are a lie
and i cry saying your name,
the apples, the fury
pushing hard into my throat

— Michèle Katrina Thorsen

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