Sunspots by William Crawford

Kiss by Jim Fuess


                                                                            for Katarina

                                                                            she told me
                                                                            that she first felt
                                                                            the cancer inside of her
                                                                            when she laughed

                                                                            she said the tumors
                                                                            looked like
                                                                            sunspots when x-rayed

                                                                            when I heard that
                                                                            I felt a breakage
                                                                            all the way down
                                                                            deep inside

                                                                            yet somehow
                                                                            her eyes 
                                                                            still smiled

                                                                            when we kissed
                                                                            I could taste 
                                                                            her sickness

                                                                            one night
                                                                            I commented
                                                                            on her naked body
                                                                            while we were 
                                                                            making love

                                                                            I said,
                                                                            “even your scars
                                                                            seem luminous
                                                                            to my eyes”

                                                                            she thought
                                                                            I said stars

                                                                            it was true,
                                                                            you know

                                                                            I could have 
                                                                            looked at her
                                                                            for 500 more years

                                                                            and every time
                                                                            she’d still seem new
                                                                            to me

                                                                            I’ve kept the cassette tape
                                                                            she gave me 
                                                                            for my 17th birthday

                                                                            weightless recordings
                                                                            of Katarina playing violin
                                                                            for a roomful of family
                                                                            and their friends
                                                                            when she was just a child

                                                                            young lithe fingers
                                                                            a deft ballet across
                                                                            the slender neck
                                                                            of that sad, old instrument

                                                                            the music never cries
                                                                            it simply says,
                                                                            I’m alive

                                                                            the tape is worn thin
                                                                            it hisses now

                                                                            not like a snake
                                                                            but rather
                                                                            an easy zephyr
                                                                            through the trees
                                                                            when they are full

                                                                            I keep an old cassette deck
                                                                            out in my van

                                                                            I just drive in circles
                                                                            around the neighborhood
                                                                            where she lived

                                                                            and listen to what
                                                                            she has to say

                                                                            as she breaks
                                                                            to be beautiful

                                                                            as her grace
                                                                            disrupts the disorder
                                                                            of my day.

                                                                            William Crawford


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