In the Before Cancer Era
I would have answered each
Of the five phone calls
Between midnight and two
Thirty years doesn't seem that long ago
While living in the same time zone.
I would have kept all the shame
Placed on sea gulls for eating trash
Placed on the fault line’s guilty movement
Blown away by the windy desert
Stayed tattered as I hung on a flimsy clothes line.
In the After Diagnosis Era
I let the phone ring
Again and again
Between midnight and two,
When Mexican men stood
At my window confessing love.
I pay the gatekeeper with roses
The Virgin de Guadalupe showered,
Mortar the discarded petals
Into the cracks of a voice.