by Frannie Lindsay
She isn't afraid to look
straight into the eyes of the kind oncologist
she's come to know,
and tell him it's started,
this morning she found she could
no longer read
her Bible, and just now
she forgot the word for chair. He asks her
to follow his finger
from east to west.
Now north. Now south. He asks her to touch
his nose then hers,
to keep this
going, now faster, and he begins to turn
from side to side,
upping the ante, playing
a kind of tag with his face, but soon
her finger runs out
of steam, and drifts to the beard
of the one yellow iris left in the vase.
Very good, he says.
She repeats very good
and thanks him, while he scribbles those few
quick notes on my sister's last
Saturday morning awake.
Frannie Lindsay's two volumes of poetry are Lamb (Perugia, 2006), and Where She Always Was (Utah State University Press, 2004). She is the winner of the 2008 Missouri Review prize in poetry. This poem originally appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of the Bulletin.