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In September you were in the hospital again.

So I burned underbrush—

a blackberry thicket grown large

in our rented yard.


I was always but one step ahead

of the landlord’s admonition:

keep the blackberries down

or I’ll have to spray.

Oh— no, thanks. No, please—

the bees, the bees.


I was not free

of counting time ahead and time behind

in the hospital

when you are that sick

you can handle a room;

a bed; one menu; meds.

Also one bag of books, two bags of candy,

more if you charm our friends to smuggle them in

for you.

For you are in

and I am out.


I am out back burning all by my self.

Branches too tough for our dull axe—

they get to me—

they pop out in the spring, lingering,

buried by one more winter after fall

in the compost pile, or the fire pit of ashes.


When I have failed to immolate it all,

one log pokes at the new grass the cats eat,

and throw up, and threatens to rot

the whole year.


It is almost six months

since you were sick.

I look at the sky for signs.
Posted 02/02/15
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