Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby


Book Excerpt: Year by Year


In the eventuality that preparation for security advanced
signatures obtained life jackets confirmed permanent medical
records sealed pharmaceuticals delivered weather reported
batteries checked tires filled expiration avoided warnings
acknowledged wills signed if-and-only-ifs collected and still
no one anticipated the return of my brother-in-law’s cancer.

A friend forgot to send her payment — a single check
she never put in the envelope, hidden under
a stack of receipts, appointment cards, and electricity bills.
The check, never arrived. Her policy, cancelled.

She who had already given up her ovaries and come
face-to-face in the ring with illness, won that round.
Now no rope to hold onto, no pillows to fall back on.
We two friends of more than twenty years sit at a table
in a café talking of our homes, books we’ve read,
people almost forgotten, purses with zippers, jump
ropes, kitchen counters, projects abandoned.

I ask her about her health. She’s crossing her fingers
That’s all she has until they pass that bill.


Copyright (c) 2020 by Lynne Sachs. All rights reserved. Lynne Sachs, a Memphis native, has made 35 films, and her work has screened at the New York Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Year by Year is her first published poetry collection. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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