A Careful Woman
Sober days plod on --
never stepping on a crack,
looking both ways,
clinging fast to the handrails.
A spectral void in her wake,
blood cool . . .
Until that frigid evening
coming home from the doctor's,
the lump hard and itchy in her left breast.
She stops to watch children hurtle
down the slope of Sled Hill,
dodging small trees, dogs and each other.
Their shouts and laughter slam into her
like a dose of chemo.
Lost, careful years trail her
like tracks in the snow.
The future waits, hungry and hurtful in the dark
but the Now beckons, as it always has
and this time she doesn't turn away.
Her breath quickens.
She moves, slow at first, then faster --
she slides, glides, stumbles, crashes,
wild laughter erupting
unfettered at last.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Pamela Jessen would be pleased to hear them.