Eric Nelson


October, a woman and a boy, a tumor

overtaking his brain, draw pictures

in the waiting room.


She makes a red apple as round

as a face. Then from her hand a cloud

grows and darkens over the apple


until the crayon breaks inside

its wrapper and hangs like a snapped

neck from her bloodless fingertips.


He's drawn two stick-figures

up to their necks in falling gold

leaves, their heads all smiles.


It's you and daddy, he tells her.

Above them a flock of m's

fly toward a grinning sun.


When she doesn't answer

he says on Halloween he'd like

to be a horse with orange wings.


Staring at his picture, she says

It looks like Thanksgiving.

Where are you?


He taps the sun. I'm shining on you.

She hugs him as if trying

to press him back inside her.


I'm not crying, she whispers.

He looks over her shoulder.

I'm not crying, too.