Hurrying before trips to the chemo zone–
before the sun lips up and over
the freeway–they water plants listening
to the rain cascade from porch to porch below.
Young woman, scarf replacing
her lost hair, older woman, lowered
by gravity, still they test the soil with a finger.
In Dave’s house, it is Dave who waters
the plant, the root, the leaf, the live
memory passed on like the pontiff’s key:
expired pope to the living one. A moment
of light in the new day. The crosshatch of sun
warming the window sill. The silvered pot
with the one life his lost son has left him.
I have stolen his best story. Here is Al’s:
Annie at five in a South Seas fisherman’s boat
and the enormous wave that flashed her
overboard and, while Al dove deep
into a lifetime of bad dreams, she biked
the warm descent, floated eye-wide past beautiful
fish. At forty, she said it was how to die.