I beat the devil last night
she said fighting for her life
He was right there in the room
with me. I slammed all the
doors and windows of myself
closed. I willed my heart to
keep beating. My lungs to
suck in air. I am not ready yet.
Though my heart is blocked and
leaking. My kidneys have failed
and my body lies here pale and
tired. I want to always see the
beauty of a rose and my little dog
watching for me from the window.
I want to climb again the hills of
San Francisco with my grandson.
The place I am from. And my
granddaughter I love her with
all my heart. I have opened all
the doors and windows of myself
to let the air rush in.

Jean Varda’s poetry has appeared in The Berkeley Poetry Review, Manzanita Poetry & Prose of the Mother Lode & Sierra, Avocet A Journal of Nature Poems, California Quarterly, and Third Wednesday. She has taught poetry writing workshops, hosted a poetry radio show and sponsored poetry events at cafes.