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Ms. X is a 79 year-old female with a history of

beaming up at dad on the ladder

watching him fall

red delicious,

red delicious lightly bruised


who presents with a productive cough

that’s how it started:

mom lost weight, quit smoking,

her friends begged her for the secret,

an apple a day—a wink,

the cough grew like a dandelion

from a concrete cul-de-sac crack

rattling her every breath


and night sweats

the same dream: she is running

her hair is thick, full,

colorful, billowing behind her, 

a million winged spores sailing

and settling like the blue mist

of spirits a wildfire sets free

she barrels through darkening brush

the cinders the orchard


she refuses to go to bed

and passes out from exhaustion,

sleeping for twelve hours,

waking up cold, damp, alone,

wondering if her pastor had Hell backwards.





Review of systems is positive for



weight loss (8 pounds in a month)

tinnitus (constant, bilateral)

dry eyes (worse in the morning)

petechiae (ankles and feet)

itchy skin (arms and wrists)

swollen glands

memory problems


she needs both hands to pick it up

she squeals & laughs

she sees dad

dad sees her, drops

another into the basket

jumps from the ladder

she drops hers into the basket

he reaches to pick her up

she giggles & wiggles away

she runs


the sun warms her cheeks

she hears him behind her


the wind lifts her up

she flies over the treetops


red delicious

red delicious

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