Jeff Ruane CC
Having a baby is the mousetrap
in me, her cries the tremor
my ear is sprung to, my leaping
heart, I am so tightly wound.
Night snow powders the cheeks
of the lawn, fresh as a newly
sliced limb, this morning
of maniacally honking geese,
bird prints of feet like jet planes
flying backwards. After my five-year
cancerversary, I decide to drop my brain
scans down one: an annual review.
Beyond the front stoop, green
porcupines a white scalp
of snow. The grass is growing back.
Chitter, chirr, chitter, cheep!
How grateful I am not to have to
overwinter alone in an empty bird bath.
Bathe me, instead, with birds.
Go, Dog. Go!
November twilight, a.k.a.
late afternoon, cirrocumulus float
at 20,000 feet, salmon
bellied pink above the down sun,
the diffusion of light a sleight
of hand whereby we
darken in each other’s eyes.
at sundown, a wingspan
its corrugated blade of pink
feathers. The air
darkens us in each other’s eyes.
intensifies to conflagration.
Could there be another way for the day
to end than this
bonfire of our lives
leaving us daily
Even my two-year-old
knows to be sad when the dogs climb
into their gigantic bed.
If only we were
going somewhere with a purpose.
If only we were going to
a big tree party.
The sky’s blue cupboard is bare.
I decide to learn the names of clouds,
photograph the page in my son’s
Encyclopedia and the sky goes blank,
forgetting the names of its own children.
When I decide to glean light
from the leaves, they close up their shutters.
Yesterday an inborn diamond, a rainbow
prism, today a tumbling foreskin.
There has to be a message
for us in this, because yesterday we held
workshop in a coffeehouse that closed.
We talked line breaks you were always moving,
you were always moving to Seattle, verdant
city of your grandchildren.
My body remembers its hunger, the sad sermon
of ache, because no one would feed me,
no one wanted me to live, I lay down
and buried my face. I lay down and faded
into the sky’s blue upholstery.
Cameron Morse was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing Program at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, Portland Review and South Dakota Review. His first poetry collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press's 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is Baldy (Spartan Press, 2020). He lives with his wife Lili and two children in Blue Springs, Missouri, where he serves as poetry editor for Harbor Review. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.
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