Thursday, April 19, 2012

Poetry Month: Sunday by Kathy Davis

When I teach The "Literature of Caregiving" class I love to share "Sunday" by Kathy Davis. It is a seemingly simple poem describing a seemingly simple interaction but it is loaded with power and the ever present ambiguity and confusion of cancer and caregiving. Here it is:


Joan leans over
the fence, says she had a mastectomy
last Tuesday. And I think: A meal,

I should have known
and taken her one. Chicken Tetrazzini,
tossed salad. She winces when I touch

her arm. A wasp,
for a moment, gives us both something
to wave at. Any degree of mobility

increases survival. “What can I do?”
I ask knowing the answer
will be “Nothing.” Tomatoes, onions, squash

to be chopped.
On my kitchen table, the knife
I use to cut everything in little squares. A breeze,

from somewhere the scent of honeysuckle.
“Let me know if you need
anything,” I say. Joan’s face blank.

The zinnias shouting red. She nods, weaves
gingerly back inside. Her screen door
misses the latch, hanging open like a dare.

                                                      By Kathy Davis

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