She woke me up at dawn,
her suitcase like a little brown dog at her heels.
I sat up and looked out the window
at the snow falling in the stand of blackjack trees.
A bus ticket in her hand.
Then she brought something black up to her mouth,
a plum I thought, but it was an asthma inhaler.
I reached under the bed for my menthols
and she asked if I ever thought of cancer.
Yes, I said, but always as a tree way up ahead
in the distance where it doesn’t matter
And I suppose a dead soul must look back at that tree,
so far behind his wagon where it also doesn’t matter.
except as a memory of rest or water.
Though to believe any of that, I thought,
you have to accept the premise
that she woke me up at all.