Out Back, Behind the Hospital

We shared cigarettes and jokes / talked about anything except / what we’d seen, the baby we’d X-rayed, / his bruises…

The Oncologist

Do you have an appetite? No. / Are you anxious? Yes. / Irritable? Yes.


I’ve given away the black Samsonite suitcase/
that for thirty-five years enfolded my suits/
like a wallet

Six Weeks into Chemotherapy

To be unseen, unprayed for, to be unhugged / in the grocery store and left alone // to select a melon.


Now it’s loose in the house, and out back. / lop away its extremities, they swell back fat.

A Spring Without Us

The playground has been locked for months. / A swing coughs dryly in the shade.

Surviving You

I don’t know how I did it, / loved you all those years in the quiet landscape / of a burning vineyard, of a toppling mountain…


Late June fields greening
under a mottled sky.
An oriole slashes orange
against a shingled Cape Cod.

The Shed

Each time something went missing—
the photo album of my first
year, postcard from a forgotten friend…