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 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.