The Flare
by Connie Gutowsky

When ankles feel a million bees
           stinging at once
She steps as though shackled
                 out of the shower, trying not to fall
When fingers can’t pour boiling water from a kettle
                     for the oolong tea
Can’t hold a pencil to write
                      or open the palette to paint
Can’t pull up the quilt
                        to cover bare shoulders in bed
Immobile, swollen, she rests with feet up, thinking about:
                            A bucket of bruised apples
                              The salt of marriage long after the wedding
                                Bridges corroding in silence
                                  The frightened eyes of migrating kids
                                    Centuries of tribal mayhem
                                      A scrappy woman shuffling her cart
                                                                                        full of discarded whatnots.