She’s on the deck pouring potting soil
into containers. Without her careful,
persistent replenishing of plants each spring,
our yard would lack its beauty. She’s made it
for fourteen years since the breast cancer.

She has Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
in her swollen right hand. She’ll possibly
overdo it and need to sleep for a couple of days.
The cancer meds have taken their toll:
hair and bone loss, sleep disorder, anxiety.

She’s had meniscus surgery and has plans
for another operation for shoulder joint pain.
She adjusts her temporary front tooth.
We have six children. How could we
have made it without her?

She calls herself Frankensteina and notes
the new body parts: cadaver bones, screws
and plates from spinal surgery; a bilateral
silicone implant from breast surgery,
and hearing aids.

She’s had cataract surgery on both eyes
and is hobbling on painful knee joints across
the deck tending to her tulips, daffodils
and irises. She pulls the hose behind her
and sprays life on the plants and all of us.

Tom Donlon

Tom Donlon lives with his wife and children in Shenandoah Junction, WV. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the American University in 1984. He was awarded a chapbook, Peregrine, in 2016 from a book contest sponsored by the Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. Poems have appeared in many journals, newspapers, and anthologies. Recognition has included Pushcart Prize nominations and a fellowship from the WV Commission on the Arts.

Dead Letter Drop
Camping in the Redwoods