Of the boundaries between plaster and self, of light
in squares and the wheels of the fan turning like mill
wheels. Of the white cat, the tortoise-shell cat, the Maine
coon that inched or darted at various hours across
the night-vision lawn. Of the hiss of hoses, the cat-spider
who spat the line from her leg across the corner of ceiling,
the slightly askew pattern she made to ward
off the non-existent birds. Of the peonies in the next
yard that seemed as if they might lose
their heads, those islands of carmine, magenta,
bright lady pink. Of the longing to keep the plaster
smooth. Of the fear of expanding until it became
a glove that no longer fit. Of the dusty taste
of plums from my mother’s gold-rimmed plates.
Clock sounds, a digital whirling. Eight holes inside me
the size of quarters which must be cleaned
to avoid infection. Of the curved alley and its micro-
seasons. One day lilac, the next rotting chicken
from the neighbor’s garbage. Of light and its many
moods between languorous and violent. Of
caring and solicitude and the far beach of walking.
Of the arterial cardinal that appeared to flit all alone
between the oak and the elm.

Sheila Black

Sheila Black is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Iron, Ardent (Educe Press, 2017). She is a co-editor of Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Birmingham Review, The New York Times and other places. She currently lives in San Antonio, TX.