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« Easter Sunday 2016 - Basquiat | Main | Dying for fruit »

Through the window

Windblown leaves in bright light
tumble and plunge

in air, scrape
along the street.  Another scraping's

in my head.  I heard it, an unknown
sound, while reading in bed

when I was a kid.  A rat gnawing an electrical wire
in the wall.  Suddenly

a pop!  The lights went out.  Days later
the electrocuted rodent's stink started

oozing through the plaster.  With a hammer
my dad bashed a basketball-sized hole

in the wall, then scooped up what was left
of the rat in a dustpan and dumped it, like a woman

after a secret abortion
getting rid of the evidence, in  

the alley garbage can .  Goodbye, reek.  But nothing
else changed. The leaves

still fell, the trees grew scrawnier, barely
able to stand upright, like the Jews

my uncle saw in the camps when the war
with the Nazis ended, and how

they leaked diarrhea in their pants
as they tried to keep their balance.  This afternoon, too,

the trees, losing the only thing they own, their leaves, grow
nakeder and skinnier by the minute

as do I, with my
cancer cells and foul mouth and also, in spite

of sinking lower every day, my mulish
refusal to give up the ghost when told to.  Which is why

observing me
those who want me gone

stir restlessly.  Still, they say nothing, except
in code, a silent

smirk one minute, a roll
of the eyes the next.  Me, I'm not

so quiet.  Even felled
by cancer, I like my words

out in the open, unafraid
of the assassins all around.     

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