Lynn Strongin
She has the stepchild of cancers

     circling her with its long white arms:
this is chance, this misfortune.

Not tatty,
tall, raised in Europe, one shoulder hiked, will she slip over the horizon
    like a negative off a table in the darkroom?
A cipher off the screen?
Or will she be alive a year from now, carrying her portable oxygen like a fragile violet in a glass?

My perpetual dream of snow   blindout blizzards
     whiting lamp posts & landscapes.
plus the lambs     frost coating eyelashes.

     They cannot save her    she's only forty-one.
     Childhood bleakness   assaults me:
     So many years spent trying to get away
     crawling up to the charred black-red brick wall
     at night touching push-dials    the past's buttons
     red-alert over
     white-oak whorled    barbed wire birds
     plunged into greiving
     snow hoods the panic-button    while all the while we ought to have been
     chancing things:
     cherishing the ability to pull back from the world.