WU Words: Topeka takes a turn…

Topeka takes a turn

for me for the better

part of the new millennium

when disaster grows

on the national level

to reach my fill-to level

I need Topeka

with its decision of desegregation

its capitol building dome

in green oxidation

another breath

a change in the copper

and lead during



yes that one

day two days after the towers

when Sondra falls under

like how the swimming instructor

held my head

under and prepared me

for my future my breath held

until a count to ten

my mother told

the first of five different times

Sondra will not survive the night

it is not what is not written

but omitted

in the records

where words should be

we receive

white space

an insider tells us anesthesia

travelled the wrong way

attacked the heart

stopped the brain

white-out conditions


please read a poem

she says she moves

the machine scans her body

a page


she wants Sappho

space fills


brilliant white

lighting each of us

let the snow be a metaphor for death

it happens during three winters, while snow falls

in the waiting room, we worry about Sondra’s dying

not the death people refer to when they say, I literally died

not the cliché death found in poetry

not the death Ernest Hemingway says every story ends with

frozen still, someone says

as the snow covers everything, surrounds us

Sondra pushes through snow