A response to reading Deb’s stones

Triage

I wake from a dream about an epidemic
and makeshift hospital with my left eye swollen.

There is no such thing as coincidence — only vestiges of trips
we remember in the strangest contexts, the smallest pieces.

What’s infected my lid is too tiny to be seen.
Memory’s that way. We throb and tear

with no visible cause. I work in silence at packing,
empty the dresser and closet I will leave.

Pulling sweaters from a top shelf, I feel a familiar pain
in my back, a slight twinge that will lead to days of spasm.

Lying on my stomach with ice on my back, suddenly
(but carefully) I am in that house on Taylor again,

on the floor where I covered myself with a red blanket
and wished the recurring pain away. The men

come and go, never warning they may not return.
I had no idea we would lose one another, no idea

we would find one another. These things happen
in patterns. No one knows the proper order, but learn instead

we are all foragers. Drawers here are going to be vacant
only a while. They’ll fill with new findings in need

of place. We may not ever remember what we started with
but we’ll weep about it a long, long time.

///

I’ve been dropping random notes into a document for this one for a few days. It may not be woven together entirely here (and of course some things may not belong at all). And of course, it’s a first draft.

It echoes more than my emotion about what Deb’s been posting; you’ll hear very clearly a couple of her phrasings: foragers all and remove all vestige of that strange trip.

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