“Dialysis,” Lucille Clifton

after the cancer, the kidneys
refused to continue.
they closed their thousand eyes.

blood fountains from the blind man’s
arm and decorates the tile today.
somebody mops it up.

the woman who is over ninety
cries for her mother, if our dead
were here they would save us.

we are not supposed to hate
the dialysis unit. we are not
supposed to hate the universe.

this is not supposed to happen to me.
after the cancer the body refused
to lose any more. even the poisons
were claimed and kept

until they threatened to destroy
the heart they loved. in my dream
a house is burning.

something crawls out of the fire
cleansed and purified.
in my dream i call it light.

after the cancer i was so grateful
to be alive. i am alive and furious.
Blessed be even this?

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