When I discovered the lump,
you looked into my eyes
and said:
"Everything will be all right."

The biopsy was positive.
But you gazed at me that way again:
"Everything will be all right."
Chemo began. I sat on my bed

wondering if I could stand up
You sat down beside me.
Your eyes
swam into mine
and spoke again.
But in six months, I was ready
to give up.
"Go ahead, give up,"
you said.
"Everything will be all right."
For a year I whispered, "I'm OK."
Then I looked in the mirror:
cheeks like smoke that veils
the surface of a distant planet.

I turned to meet your eyes, those
gentler mirrors.
The final night,
I was a paper lantern without a bulb.
They had me on a morphine drip.
I couldn't wait for the animal
in my throat
to stop sucking.
You came into the room, sat down
beside me.
"She can't hear you,"
they said. "Yes she can," you said.

My eyes were somewhere else,
but you found them
and spoke:
"Everything will be all right."
Now there is no mirror but a sea
of swelling glittering transparencies.
All day, all night my gaze
breaks in lovely waves upon you
like this, and I am whispering,