My neighbor hangs out
Christmas lights,
tacking strands along the eaves. This year
he also strings the sides and back, hovering
above his domain on a wooden ladder.

His wife has cancer, breast, then brain, now bone.
The worst has saved its best till last and wrapped
a black wreath around their home. The staple gun

clickitaclucks another cell from their lives.
His thoughts scatter across gray shingles, drip
onto the bright icicles he hopes will burn away evil.
Next year he'll string lights solely for the season.