Lacie Semenovich

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Go Fish and Zen

Fat-bellied geese fly by my mother’s
window. Deer dig through the snow
to feast on tender March grass.
I shuffle cards. I teach her to play
Go Fish for the third time this week.

She wheezes oxygen from a tube,
chained to a wall by rubber,
by the instinct to live.

“Where did you learn
this game?” she asks.

From you, my mind whispers, the question’s
prick as fresh as the first time.

“Oh, I picked it up somewhere,” I shrug
to avoid the fallen face of unmemory.

She looks at her cards, sets down a pair
of queens. “What’s the purpose?”

At home I read Zen Driving because I think
it will help my road rage, will help the tightness
in my chest, will help the untouchable energy
flooding my body more often than not.

I try to not try to feel the interconnectedness
of everything. To let it be. To be myself. My true
self. The shadow beyond the corners.

But all I feel is her
struggle for breath,
her concentration on cards,
her regret about her first cigarette.
My own slow crawl toward death’s cradle
whispers in my ear, a ghost on my shoulder,
neither devil nor angel, just fact, unfact,
known, unknown.

Lacie Semenovich is the author of a chapbook, Legacies (Finishing Line Press).  Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrelhouse, MOBIUS, Kansas City Voices, Jet Fuel Review, The Ghazal Page, Leveler, Muddy River Poetry Review, B O D Y, and other journals.