I’m not any sadder, certainly not
sadder than that day in August, returning
bra to breasts in the dressing stall
at the mammogram place when Adele came on.
I’d only known you for two weeks then, but I wept
so hard I thought my chest would cave in.
And I remember how good it felt to be held at all–even
in that space, saddest of rooms. Looking back now
I think even cancer didn’t want me that summer,
and how lucky I am–
there’s still time for anything.
The Fourth of July
and nobody told the end of the world.
Or maybe the end of the world didn’t tell
the Fourth of July. Either way,
some things don’t need saying. And there are still
small kindnesses remaining: a sprinkler
slicing through the thickness of summer, the cardinal
unapologetic in her living, Mom
in the garden caring for things that return to her
year after year.
Ode to the MRI Machine
The night we waited for your sister,
warm after baths in the dim bedroom light,
you dragged a bug-eyed kitty cat up
my left arm, the one that’s usually numb
but not completely without feeling.
That August, the Reiki master felt it
and said, You’ve got blocked energy
there. And I cried, though I didn’t know why.
I guess even the stuffed animals sensed
I needed healing.
What a cute little guy! I said, watching
that bug-eyed kitty cat.
I had another one but it got lost in the butterfly room
forever and ever and ever, you said
(without the r’s,
or a trace of sorrow or self-pity).
You were three.
Even now, it astonishes me
how we love
the things we lose.
Amy Smith’s poems have appeared in Waxwing, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. She works in a high school library in central New York.