The first thing she requests post-surgery,
awake but drifting in the morphine glow,
is that my sister turn on the TV
so that the two can watch her favorite show.
Weak but alive, unsure if she has cancer,
my mother turns to questions she can answer.
Susan McLean is Professor of English at Southwest Minnesota State University. Her poems and translations have appeared in The Classical Outlook, 14 by 14, Subtropics, Literary Imagination, and elsewhere. Her poetry book The Best Disguise won the 2009 Richard Wilbur Award and is available from the University of Evansville Press.
First published in Measure Volume 6, Issue 1 (2011)