A Cure for the Common Cold

for Patricia D’Alessandro

Honey pours from my eyes
as the mustard dries under
the Band-Aid, poultice yellow —
a flake on skin. I think about
the time I ate the lemon, whole,
rind and pith, spitting the seeds
into a cup because
Patricia told me to.

Patricia the poet, Patricia
the Italian grandmother.
With lively dinner parties,
erotic artworks, and piano.
Patricia never remarried,
never let on in any of her long,
long letters what she regretted.
Patricia died, sharp, effusive,
a diamond buried
in Desert Hot Springs.

Meanwhile my mother fights
for the first time against
loneliness, that great bear.
We spend Christmas stoking
the furnace, sparks flutter,
burst. Oma swears softly,
Ich hob’ kein Mann, while
Opa sits drinking next-door.

I’m all for folk cures. Mutti Medezin.
But how, despite centuries
under our belts of stars, ash,
leather, lamplight, silver coin,
silver moon, whale fat, despite
steel rivets and river-red, arcing
across the skyline, despite cells
that multiply under foot and nail-bed,
ecosystems living in my eyelashes,
the keep on keeping on,
on and on and on and on —

despite that, how have we failed to understand:
Love is a game of fangs, glänzend und giftig.