for Karen ❤
Lathering up in the shower, rubbing
soap down each shoulder to breast
smooth and intact, perceiving sensations
in living nipples, my fingers rest –
I feel for you
you in your cancer raft drifting
down that aphotic river
as I trip along the steep and muddy bank.
I slather suds into unscarred armpits
where lymph nodes still function.
Running my hands up arms innocent
of chemo-ports and IV intrusion –
I think of you
pulled by the current through mottled light
pressing past sharp bends
whose thickets threaten to swallow you.
Stepping before the mirror whose
reflection confirms my cleanness,
tracing my contours, watching
droplets cling to my wholeness –
I see you
rudderless, spinning, steered
by the un-navigable waters
of a river I cannot swim.