This morning Mama rasped go to hell but I stay balled
between these machines & their racket of artifice.
I don’t know how Mama sleeps through it. False breath.
Heart skips. I’m afraid to unhitch the rosary from her fingers,
so I thumb open her Bible instead. I want the needle
thirsting in her wrist to tell her fear not for I am
with you. It’s late July & the windows won’t open.
Sweat daubs the backs of my knees. Levaquin drips
from its jangle of tubes & I imagine the mouth
of each doctor shaping the word dismay. Her bed,
from this angle, looks like an altar. Isaiah, when you wrote
the wolf will live with the lamb, what did you mean?
Some days, cancer is the wolf. Some days, the wolf is Mama.
Emily Rose Cole is a writer and lyricist from Pennsylvania, and the author of a persona chapbook, Love and a Loaded Gun, forthcoming from Minerva Rising Press. She has received awards from Jabberwock Review, Ruminate Magazine, and the Academy of American Poets, and her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Nimrod, Spoon River Poetry Review, The Pinch, and Southern Indiana Review, among others. She holds an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is currently a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati. You can reach her via her website at emilyrosecolepoetry.com.