~This poem previously appeared in The Cape Rock (2014).
How Is Mom Holding Up?
When they heard the news in December,
Mom did not cancel their summer cruise.
The doctor said three rounds this time, if all goes well.
Besides, they bought insurance.
She hasn’t canceled yoga, either. Tuesdays 9 a.m.
are blocked off from January to June
to breathe deeply in class,
not at the hospital in chemo spouse position.
With no surgery scheduled, no bedside duty,
Mom plans to keep tutoring Wednesdays, too.
She’s already flipping through catalogs,
choosing seeds for the spring garden
unplanted last year in the storm
of a darker diagnosis.
And when I asked why she was gazing
through a frosted bay window
with dreamy gray eyes,
she said she was picturing
Sunday walks at the lake
hand in hand. Each day
growing longer and longer
until twelve hours of sun
and dinner for two on the patio
consumed the fear
of one plate on the kitchen table
and a six o’clock sunset outside.