Putting meals in the freezer,
writing names and dates
wondering, what will I remember about this time?
Will it be when things were hard and we were sad and unhappy,
or will it be the time before things got worse,
when we didn’t know how good we had it?

I defrost a dinner, nuke it, chew it
thoughtfully, because I took time from making a phone
call to write this down, my journal of walking the line,
a note about notes frozen in the future, waiting for time
to thaw misery or victory.


(This is the first post of the second chapter of Deep Water—Relapse.

(The second chapter, Relapse, is poems written about Arlen’s second round of chemo. The news of his relapse was so devastating I feared I would never write a poem again. Some original drafts I found I had no memory of writing. The chapter, in a sense, conveys the haze of a day in the hospital, returning home late, and getting ready for another day of the same. There is very little heroism left—now it is just a grind.)