After my blood has swirled away
into ribbons in the phlebotomist’s hand,
weeks after the firm rub
of the nurse’s palm on my bicep,
the agony on cold carpets
in empty houses,
I cradle a steel bowl. Whisk. Weigh
lemons in each hand.
A numb cumulus of steam
clams the kitchen, puffs on the tiny window
as I lean in silence, swing open the latch
to a birdless yard
stiff and creased with winter.
The lemons sweat in their pans.
The clouds rise, pale as butter—
puddling skyward, precious as breath.