the sestina I wrote for hannah, using the words
organic, eyelash, science, windy, irritated, and waters.
Starting up the car. A thick, organic
smell in the air. I blink back an eyelash
"make a wish" my sister said. Superstition, not science.
The road home is dark and windy.
The road is rain-slick and I am irritated
watching the asphalt under the waters.
Last week my sister and I got ice cream and waters
scoops of vanilla and yellow-ripe bananas, organic.
The waiter got it wrong, cursing and irritated.
She thinks I didn't see the tear on her eyelash...
the air was chilled, she shivered in the windy
afternoon. She is dying slowly of science
But my sister was a great advocate of science--
biology, chemistry, test tubes in baths of water.
Late nights at the lab, leaving in the windy
darkness. She always trusted the organic
chemistry, the alkenes of vision, magic in an eyelash.
Her ability to see beauty in chemistry made me so irritated
I am not now. Watching her struggle, I am not irritated
with her chemotherapy, the betrayal of her science.
Losing her hair, her eyebrows, thinning eyelashes.
Her soul is buried in the rising waters
and all of the products, healing and organic
do not cure her melancholy, her voice thin and windy.
Now she is frail, emaciated, threatening on windy
days to blow away. I am still irritated,
upset, frustrated, powerless. All her organic
chemistry could not save her. Her science,
powerless as my mother's tears--empty waters.
My mother cries out her prayers, loses her eyelashes
but accomplishes nothing. My thick eyelashes,
shiny nails, healthy skin, robust, wind-
blown hair are wrong. I want to drown in these waters
just to rid myself of this guilt which irritates.
There is nothing I can do that science
cannot do for her. Her heart, frail and organic
fills up with waters, her eyelashes fall out.
Organic smells, earth and wind, become her.
I am no longer irritated. She moves beyond science, into belief.