This hope

The therapy makes her hair fall out.
Soft material
for bird’s nests, she jokes.
It lies in piles like the cat’s been sick.
They sharpen to splinters when she’s alone,
so every day, you vacuum
her pillow and sheets.

Later, you run careful fingers
over her small smooth skull.
Round and markless.
As if it were made to see the future in.

(A version of this poem was first published in issue 58 of The Interpreter’s House.)