by Gail Rudd Entrekin
Edie has pain in her back, too many plasma cells
inside her spine, crowding out the other white blood cells,
through her brittle spine as she lies very still in a white room,
a large black X drawn on the curve of her waist.
Soon they will cut into her skin and bone, take a sample
from her marrow to check for mitigation. Edie
who helped me pitch a tent in Iowa, sheltered beside me
in the driving rain all night, where we laughed and slept
and woke up to cows and sunshine. Edie
who walked among the Utah horses hanging their heads
over their pasture rail to graze our hands. Whose camera
saw them as dark hills with manes, a silver print still hanging
in her living room beside the Victorian doilies and daguerreotypes,
the baskets and books she makes, the orange poppies waving
at the window among the bird houses and bright modern sculpture
we chose at the garden show. Edie
whose anger has always been her go-to response
when things fall apart; this time cheerful, optimistic. Finally,
the biggest bad thing staring her down,
she embraces a new proposition: hope.
* * *
Gail Rudd Entrekin is Poetry Editor of Hip Pocket Press and Editor of the online environmental literary magazine, Canary (www.canarylitmag.org). She is Editor of the poetry anthology Yuba Flows (2007) and the poetry & short fiction anthology Sierra Songs & Descants: Poetry & Prose of the Sierra (2002).
Her poems have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, including Cimarron Review, Nimrod, New Ohio Review, and Southern Poetry Review, were finalists for the Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry from Nimrod International Journal in 2011, and won the Women’s National Book Association Award in 2016.
Entrekin taught poetry and English literature at California colleges for 25 years. Her books of poetry include The Art of Healing (with Charles Entrekin) (Poetic Matrix Press 2016); Rearrangement of the Invisible, (Poetic Matrix Press, 2012); Change (Will Do You Good) (Poetic Matrix Press, 2005), which was nominated for a Northern California Book Award; You Notice the Body (Hip Pocket Press, 1998); and John Danced (Berkeley Poets Workshop & Press, 1983). She and her husband, poet and novelist Charles Entrekin, live in the hills of San Francisco’s East Bay.