Once again, we are on the road early,
driving to see our son
wrestle with cancer for gold.
Clouds fall like a heavy eyelid
over the eastern sky, crowding
the tender light against the horizon—
healthy crimson, healthy orange compressed
by gray as thick as
blasts in leukemic marrow.
Birds fly everywhere before us: electrons
energized to higher shells by
the meager dawn. Life will, life must,
make do on little.
What do you think of all the beauty
squandered along this mournful road?
Tragedy may induce myopia.
Still, I notice the distant trees
like a remembrance of your hair; the young
light on a field, the color
of your neck; and the
unseen sun’s halo, dark and
pink as your areola.
Turning on the radio, I hear
Billy Graham preach Christ crucified and
raised as God’s sufficient grace, and I think
of our son clinging gracefully to life like
the stubborn leaves of
red November oaks.
—Duane K. Caylor