by Vivian Wagner
He carefully sliced the cancer from my skin,
one thin piece after another, finally extracting
the last bit of hardy weedroot.
If my face is a garden, it’s a strange one,
pocked and hilly, various in its shapes
and sections, unkempt and unpredictable.
In the end, though, he stretched the skin
over the hole and stitched up the suture.
He held up a mirror for me to see the tiny,
even stitches, and they seemed not so much a
surgeon’s work as that of secretive, midnight fairies
intent on making a faint but sturdy path through
planted lilies and unplanned dandelions alike,
on mapping a trail they might or might not take.
Vivian Wagner is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel Kensington), and a poetry collection, The Village (Kelsay Books). For more information, visit her website at www.vivianwagner.net, or follow her on Twitter, @vwagner.