46. Cactus

An entire season has come and gone

since I pulled up to Mom’s house.

She leaves out a newspaper article for me


like always, about someone

somewhere who changed the world.

This article was published 17 months ago


when she was finishing her

freshman round of chemo. It worked for a time,

along with the sophomore and junior regimens.


She has great hopes for this,

her senior year of treatment.

Beside the news article,


she sets out her college yearbook, “The Cactus.”

Just in case we won’t recognize her perky ‘do

after she’s gone, she marks each photo


in which she appears with a yellow sticky note.

I take the article, leave the yearbook,

its pages too prickly to handle.