I have ordered a painting of a shattered shell driveway,
white house, green shutters, and a yard
of Queen Ann’s lace and black-eyed Susans.
The gallery informs me that the shipping company,
on the sand-addled tip of the Cape has closed for the season,
and it may be some time before the painting arrives.
In the snow-dusted woods with the dark pines
and a pond half-splintered in ice
I stand on a wooden bridge
where the water breaks into a snowy brook,
thinking of the shippers of art, escaping,
perhaps to a beach with shells between their toes.
The pink tulips my wife brought me
are in their fourth day, blossoms
conch-colored, opened all the way.
You know this story. Tomorrow they will begin
to flutter on the new year’s calendar,
where I have written my oncology appointment,
two months away, the only date so far,
No one knows when, but the tumors
will certainly bloom again.
Last night, I dreamed of two tumors
rising from belly, undeniable. gleaming.
How strange the dread is by day,
tucked in the tulip’s failing,
the brook running downstream,
the shippers who, as the gallery owner reports
left the “Yes, We’re Open” on the door,
which caused him to trudge in the snow,
right to the glass before he saw the dark inside.