her daughter has a tumor behind her knee.
Already it’s grown into the bone.
Very aggressive, the doctor says,
and though he names the diagnosis,
he tells my friend not to Google it.
Sometimes what we know
creates more footholds for fear. There’ll be surgery,
the doctor says, and chemo.
I want to give her a brush tonight, nothing special,
one she could pull through her own long hair
and then through her daughter’s dark curls, as well.
How commonplace to brush and comb,
to unsnarl the tangles and make one’s hair
smooth again. I want to give her the terrible gift
of the habitual life—the tedious days in which we
brush and wash and dress and sleep and work
and laugh and shit and yell and fuss and forget
how fragile we are, forget how temporary
these bodies can be, forget how bloody lucky
we are every minute to be alive.