Ghazal for the Bumps on My Spine
They appeared overnight, two knobs flowered
on bone and tendon. Lumps kissing like petals on a flower.
The doctor's cool hands traced across my back
like a box turtle swimming through algae and flower.
Medical bills, deserts we've left, your mother
calling home. I always bring her flowers.
I imagine the bumps as miniature, under-the-skin
cacti. They sleep in the sand, waiting to flower.
Instead of sheep, I count the bumps in the dark.
They swell against your breasts, prickling like flowers.
My bones don't know emergency. They know slow, chronic
prescription bottle treasure map. They know lingering deep like the roots of a flower.
I undress in the light before you. Flat chest and slight belly.
So you'll forgive my ineptitudes, I buy you rings and flowers.
Do the bumps on my spine match the white spots lighting
up my brain? Has my life, all along, been a rotting flower?
The bumps grow and grow. They play make-believe:
when I'm older, one says, the thing I'd like to be is a flower.
Oh, Remi, you missed them, those slinking warning signs.
To do on Monday: browse caskets, sing church hymns, burn flowers.