for Karen ❤

Lathering up in the shower, rubbing

soap down each shoulder to breast

smooth and intact, perceiving sensations

in living nipples, my fingers rest –

                             I feel for you

you in your cancer raft drifting

down that aphotic river

as I trip along the steep and muddy bank.

I slather suds into unscarred armpits

where lymph nodes still function.

Running my hands up arms innocent

of chemo-ports and IV intrusion –

                             I think of you

pulled by the current through mottled light

pressing past sharp bends

whose thickets threaten to swallow you.

Stepping before the mirror whose

reflection confirms my cleanness,

tracing my contours, watching

droplets cling to my wholeness –

                             I see you

rudderless, spinning, steered

by the un-navigable waters

of a river I cannot swim.