I am alive this day, yet alive,
but I don’t reflect light,
I hoard it against the darkness
of my own body’s breakdown,
its bone marrow scarring, rogue B cells,
viscous blood, red ideographs
of impending catastrophe.
After another visit to the hospital
where a slight priestess in a white coat
reads my numbers, I drive
into a brilliant burst of diffused sun
breaking through the wet grey clouds
that blanket my valley, scattering
golden pellets, washing the air clean.
A shadow of cloud on the stream
is almost nothing—the cloud a mass
of dewdrops small as atoms,
the stream a Heraclitus’ river
we never step into twice,
Plato’s world of ideas, dreams.
The meaning’s in the shadows
on the wall.
We know it—ideas can destroy
the world, make it burn with anger,
melt into volcanoes of pain
that one day cool to lava rods,
real monuments that shadows make:
Sarajevo, Banja Luka,
Susan E. Gunter has published poems in journals around the country, including Atlanta Review and Lousiville Review. She volunteers at the Marin Poetry Center and lives in Santa Rosa, CA.