Earthquakes, COVID, and Cancer
Jul 12 ● BY Loretta Diane Walker
Spring’s flora takes roll call of its colors:
honeysuckle yellow, camellia pink,
daffodil orange, hyacinth red,
primrose purple, and magnolia white.
The earth quakes in this desert city of Odessa.
Curious how fissures in Mother Earth’s womb
cause her to suddenly shake.
The tremors are like tumors,
2.5, 2.8, 3.2.
Curious unlike Carole King
I don’t feel the earth move
under my feet or feel the sky
come tumbling down
when the emergency room doctor
in his sympathetic syrupy Dr. Pepper
voice says, I’m sorry. You have cancer.
The tumor has fractured your spine.
Shock is a mammoth hand over my mouth,
smothers breaths I try to exhale.
My tears fall into a tangled net of silence.
In that sanitized room where walls cannot chart
the height of sun, or measure the speed of the wind as it trots
in colorless tennis shoes,
hear the syncopated rhythms of feathers and leaves
as grackles fly in and out of trees,
I have become a queen bee without her loyal hive.
Such loneliness when I fly into a world
where the no in normal is a dictator:
no swirl and spin
of schoolyard merry-go-rounds,
no naked faces swimming in oceans of air,
where an ambulance siren wails
when pain and blood clot my lungs and my back.
But the way paramedics lift, transport,
my body’s pained cargo, the way my blouse is cut,
ripped from me like a soiled past,
the way a young nurse who once called me teacher,
leans her maskless face against mine,
our tears flowing together like one river,
are my love letters from God.