I don’t want to leave this world:
My friends are in it, and there’s so much beauty.
Even beneath the pigeon-pocked bridge—
the simple steel and concrete off-ramp
seeped with run-off, tubercular,
that runs over roadways and part of the river that leads nowhere—
there’s a park bench, a gathering of squirrels around a stale loaf of bread.
Who wouldn’t spend time here?
Yesterday, along the Greenway under cloudless late January sky,
a flurry of bluebirds sang in the branches.
Today, I follow blue hospital signs
near Boylston, neighborhood of pressure cooker bombs,
and recall survivor Heather Abbot as I take the elevator to the malignancy floor.
Painted toenails on a prosthetic leg.
My deviant cells abnormally split;
target and destroy.
She decided they take the leg to heal the body.
I shut my eyes and see the harbor:
gulls squawk over fishing boats along the docks,
dive for entrails, fish heads, and carry them satisfied through salt air.
by Lisa Breger
Runner-Up, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize