Hereditary Risk

During colonoscopy
when I am not awake
but not asleep,
I dream
I turn over my feather bed
and find your bathrobe
pressed like a blue leaf
between pages of a book.

I am afraid of dreams
of you
and of the doctor
who may see in me
your shadow.

When you died, I changed
my food,
my weight,
my laugh,
my shoes;
everything that felt like you.

But umbilical cords
aren't really cut.
You are still
rounding out with me inside,
keeping me safe
or marking my cells
to self destruct.

Your bathrobe hangs
in my guest room.
when I miss you,
I put it on.

—Joan Wiese Johannes, Port Edwards,WI