Your eyes confirm my heart’s free fall. My ears
heard right. Cancer. Enemy feared since childhood
Two classmates dead before their fifth birthday
Sister of my adulthood struck down at 35
Now you sit across the room from me
stoic on the mattress where we make love
I see the tsunami breaching your shore
pooling ‘round sandbags positioned for my benefit
My guts coil, jellyfish drying in sun’s glare
This light an X-ray aimed at the offending lymph node
swelling in your belly, taking on water like a sinking ship
Your blood, sacred as Eucharist, white with leukocytes
I bleed for you, marrow of my marrow, bone of my bone
We are in this together
-Gayle J Greenlea
Inside These Bones
know this December light
know this December cold
And Angus pulls on his lead.
A white Highland terrier.
Your bedside companion
until that December
I take him for a walk.
Inside these bones
know this December gust.
The surface of my eyes
gather so much gritstone.
My December vigil
your bedside, Mam. Your breath
irregular as gust.
Go to Dad about it.
I tell Dad about it.
“Take Angus for a walk“
And gust blows grit.
And Angus pulls his lead.
Home half hour later ask
where you were. Ambulance
has taken you away.
I’ve never seen you since.
Gust is ghost breath and still
brings water to these eyes.
Inside these bones
Know this December cold.
Bios And Links
-Gayle J. Greenlea
is an American-Australian writer and poet and counselor for survivors of
sexual and gender-related violence. Her poem, “Wonderland”, received the Australian Poetry
Prod Award in 2011. She shortlisted and longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize in 2013, and
debuted her novel, Zero Gravity, at the KGB Literary Bar in Manhattan in 2016. Her work has
been published in St. Julian Press, Rebelle Society, A Time to Speak, Headline Poetry and Press,
The Wombwell Rainbow, Stanford University Life in Quarantine, Fevers of the Mind,
Kalonopia, Australian Health Review, and (soon) San Antonio Review.
has been composing haiku, senryu, haibun, and haiga for over 20 years and he recently won the Grand Prix 2021 Setouchi Matsuyama Haiku Contest. His book, Small Shadows, was released in 2016. With more than a thousand published poems, he has been listed on “The European Top 100 most creative haiku authors” for the past ten years .Since then I’ve also won this year’s Porad contest (this haiku) and I was a finalist in the Trailblazer contest.