Fighters aren’t always pretty
White hot anger
White hot heat
   shame, frustration, dread—
We fighters lose far more than we win
   on a battlefield of wishful thinking, enemies,
      humiliations, shadows, defeat
Each clock can only keep its own time
Even without the tests she knew
   the pain in her hip
   meant the cancer had spread
Despite all the brilliance, experience,
   knowledge, clout
we lose
Some spiritual course, never written down
It’s the nature of grief to think
   your pain deeper, longer, more sustained
Who teaches us how to be alone
Where is the caring presence
Who recognizes the bleak terrors
   the long, dark nights of despair that shadow
      this life
Where is our rescue
Defiance hot as love
She reaches across the terrains of hell
   to tell me her tale
      brain cancer, surgery, how she learned
         at last, once more to walk
She touched my cheek, gentle, this angel
   smiled, so happy to see everyone again

-September 14, 2008-