Hear the diagnosis. Lean forward, a violinist
awaiting her cue. Close my eyes, count, ask her
to repeat, strings taut, forsaking breath as adrenals
unleash frenzy. Struck still, the small animal
asks again: words a slow release poison
slipping under the door: altered state. Make
carrot-ginger soup Sunday afternoon, sleep.
Perch on the balcony to shimmer of water,
murmur of trees, count swans and chickadees.
Knit one, purl two, tension wrong, unravel.
Start again. Wander the beach, see the doctor
wave from her cabin porch. Can’t read her face.
Wave, turn and carry on. Steps quicken, breath
seizes as a storm builds – head to the dunes
for shelter. A sea of flannel sheets, I waken:
a chrysalis under the milkweed.