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Breath & Shadow

Fall 2011 - Vol. 8, Issue 4

"Everything Is Just As I Left It" and "After Brain Surgery"

written by

Cindy Lamb

"Everything is just as I left it"


lesson plans in careful cursive

papers organized by class

pens and pencils upright

in a shining cup

textbooks arranged just so

desks straightened into neat rows

Christmas decorations packed away

for next year

white board erased

the first day back in January

written safely on its surface.


I lie in a Seattle hospital clinging

by a thread to life

tubes connecting me to complicated

machinery humming quietly

my breathing laboring

on bottled air

the tunneling into my brain

hidden by a flaming scar.


Yes, everything is just as I left it.



"After Brain Surgery"


As we drive by the river

the trees are lovely

silhouetting shadows on the road.

I mention what we owe

$163 this month

$168 next.

The insurance company

negotiated with the doctor

finally agreeing on a number.

The woman on the phone

explained it in great detail,

you must have really been sick

the original bill is over $50,000

just for the doctor.

Eighteen months later they have finally

settled the last little piece.

$163 this month

$168 next.

Light glistens off the birches

streetlights wafting through the branches

logs from the mill ooze

the familiar saw-dusty fragrance I love

and we drive on.

Cindy Lamb is a Central Washington state poet who has won several area awards for her poetry. After teaching high school English for about a hundred years, she now teaches an adult poetry writing class at a local arts center. There, she also coordinates monthly poetry readings, an annual poetry contest, and the printing of the awards chapbook. Cindy is the proud mother of three children, and grandmother of two pugs, three cats, and an iguana.

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