For Lauren

Six years ago – the doctor you are – finds
your body blooming like a garden
in its first season – a little verbena here –
some mallow over there – small jewels –
but noteworthy – you are told – small –
and likely lethal –

Refusing to take death for an answer –
you ask for other possibilities that will
test – and perhaps extend – the garden’s
life that –by its second season – begins
to overrun with weeds – not easily fought –
sprouting in lung and throat –

And – again – the doctor – who refuses
death for an answer – wakes one morning –
garden in its fifth season – hell-bent –
though weeds spread your geography’s
breath and width – to travel the world
with unyielding joy –

And so the doctor who refuses death
for an answer – struggling to talk
and breathe– enters her sixth season – garden
riddled in strangler vine – yet you vow to do
whatever you dare – blowing glass –
sculpting metal – raising prized orchids –

Until the doctor who refuses to die –
can refuse no more – and – still looking
like a masked girl of sixteen – you ask
for sleep – from which there is no waking –
and so you exit – dreaming of all the things
still to be done – before the sun rises