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1 in 20 in 5


five years, five percent
hope. patience. luck.

an apple
dangling from my liver

picked, 49 staples 
graft me together

margins clear
certainty bruised

a fear tree, 
quietly takes root

sown in my heart,
seeds tendril deep into red tissue 

the wonderful unbearable
knowing of a life’s end

rooted but left unwatered, 
at the back of a quiet field

on a scrap of white paper 
a penciled wish: to stay

I place it in a mason jar, lid screwed tight, 
bury it in the earth

each spring, blood work and scans
tick April's calendar

new buds of worry 
push into ventricles, lungs

heart beats faster
breath gets short

at five years, I stand in tender field
dig up the jar, brush away the dirt

hold the paper in my fist  
unfurl my hand, 

let the wish tumble 
like apples, to the ground.

_____________


Published in Sky Island Journal, Oct 2022

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