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Imagining Defeat

 She woke me up at dawn,
her suitcase like a little brown dog at her heels.
I sat up and looked out the window at the snow falling in the stand of blackjack trees.
A bus ticket in her hand.
Then she brought something black up to her mouth, a plum I thought, but it was an asthma inhaler.
I reached under the bed for my menthols and she asked if I ever thought of cancer.
Yes, I said, but always as a tree way up ahead in the distance where it doesn't matter And I suppose a dead soul must look back at that tree, so far behind his wagon where it also doesn't matter.
except as a memory of rest or water.
Though to believe any of that, I thought, you have to accept the premise that she woke me up at all.

Poem by David Berman
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