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September 2015, vol 11 no 3

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Bill Gottlieb


The day is cool after a night of rain – relief from weeks of drought, heat, far fires to the north and east that charred our air – and I dress in heavier fabrics, soft armor for sharper weather: sweatpants, and a comfy, burnt orange, half zip, long-sleeved shirt I love to wear, a shirt you bought me, a shirt I must have raved about when I got it, giving you a kiss, a press and pause of happy gratitude, our lips like sweets. Two years ago today you were in the hospital, nearly dying. Was this the day the doctor led me to the ICU to show me your CT scan on a screen, your liver more cancer than organ, a crowd of inner wounds in black and white; imaging, like body art, signed by time. A resident of the heart, I try to image September's totems, the sentients of your favorite season – the first leaves falling like finished thoughts; the swipe and swirl of nature's breath blowing them down a shower-polished drive. False-negatives for death, I guess.

fall begins
walking down
to the basement
under the basement