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 DIAGNOSIS, from FALL RISK, short-listed by Billy Collins FISH Poetry Prize 2021

Diagnosis

I flash to the darkness
how it buries
press bare knees to chest cry
sponge my snot
tiptoe to the kitchen grab a bottle
yesterday’s coffee mug
quick rinse
pour

wine is warm
I drink anyway
dry floral hues tickle my throat as
I stare at recipe cards
& cartons of cereal
yank a drawer, stack pens in piles
alphabetize the spice rack

anise
black pepper
cloves

scrub a burnt pan
until fingers are raw
fill a teapot.

Walls are quiet but for your breath
clogged vacuum hose,
I kneel &
stare at my newness born
as the kettle cries.

https://www.fishpublishing.com/2021/05/15/poetry-prize-2021-results-long-and-short-lists/#short

CLOSER, from FALL RISK, short-listed by Billy Collins, FISH Poetry Prize 2019

Closer

June
We always take the furthest spot,
eager to walk
the flat expanse of the parking lot.
On occasion, you smile in those first days
swollen with hope,
late June sunshine on your shoulders,
Dogwood just in bloom.

August
Hot, you wave a limp wrist
motioning me to park nearer.
The tree is laden with green now
like emerald stars. Ghosts float
through glass doors that clunk
shut behind.

November
You hobble from car to lobby
filled with mums & pumpkins.
That wool cap fits loose now, your face still
beautiful,
chiseled, sunken.

February
Carrying your bag
I walk next to a nurse who
pushes your chair
through an infusion room where
I have morphed
seemingly, into Simon of Cyrene.

https://www.fishpublishing.com/2019/07/18/poetry-prize-2019-results-short-long-lists/#short