Day by Day

by David Duer

"Other days, she talked to the air, an endless conversation with the unseen."
                    (Yiyun Li)

Day by day she takes up less space
the incredible shrinking woman
tethered to the oxygen machine

her face is drawn
her eyes grow larger
the triple dose of pain nausea anxiety

friends bring food to cheer her on
sweet corn white peaches heirloom tomatoes
the bounty of Iowa gardens

memories emerge from the mist
the time she pulled me into the alley
outside Gabe's and made love to me

or the first time we met at Stone Soup
me wearing that tattered blue t-shirt
with the bright yellow smiley face

or cuddling with me in my little room
above the Montessori School on Reno Street
or her children and grandchildren

in Brooklyn Virginia Seattle
she reaches out to caress them
her eyes closed smiling

—————-

David Duer’s work has been published in Ascent, Exquisite Corpse, Milkweed Chronicle, The North American Review, English Journal, and Poetry, among others. A chapbook of his poetry, To Bread, has been published by Coffee House Press. He is presently an English Language Arts teacher and advisor for the Washington Literary Press at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.