ON THE OCCASION OF MY CAT'S FIRST BIRTHDAY
Before the Serzone. Before the Zoloft.
Before the disability forms.
Winter passed in counseling,
with Deborah who asked about tomorrow,
Anne who asked about yesterday.
Before my brave return to the competent
world of matching suit and shoes,
my evenings curled on showroom couches
in furniture stores and open-houses.
The long summer in pajamas.
Before the cancerous phone-call from my cervix.
Before he bought me a kitten to love,
named Wolfgang after a boy buried young.
Before the heating-pad I couldn't give up,
clutched to my belly because spring wasn't
Before returning the borrowed car
quietly to Donna, who understood,
I walked up the bumpy-plastered stairwell
before me -- a shadowy tangerine tunnel --
to lie in silence beneath a wooden angel,
eyes fixed, womb emptied.
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