Not what you might think: not tea & cakes & ices.
Just the neighbors, come to clean the yard,
taking rakes & clippers to dead leaves & bracken,
piling debris on tarps to drag out to the brush heap.
My sister falls asleep reading on the daybed.
Three hours later, the yard’s raked clear.
A shower comes, an almost double rainbow.
We watch it fade, admiring the neatness
of the flower beds, the rain-rinsed brightness
of the lawn. Just then the woodchuck slithers up
from his burrow, starts chewing iris blades.
My sister raps on the window. He looks up,
stares, chews more. She raps again, harder,
& as he scoots off, we call out, laughing,
Your days are numbered, pal! Ours, too.
But first, this green, this flowering.
—From “After My Sister's Mastectomy,” a four-part poem by Lynne Knight. Read the full poem in the Spring 2019 issue of the Apple Valley Review (Volume 14, Number 1). https://www.applevalleyreview.com