A couple of dear folks will worry, so I should add a disclaimer with this one. I wrote the original version of this poem when a loved one was first diagnosed with cancer. That was years ago. He’s fine now. All checkups continue to be good.
Not everyone is so fortunate, and we are no better than they are. I only share these stories because I am thankful. Remembering is the least I can do to express my gratitude.
It is the story of your life,
pinned on a screen, your insides
lit up, discussed in hushed tones
by a man who is late for a meeting.
He sees deficiency, fissures, cells.
You see your mother’s red hands,
a river sliding past summer cabins,
mildewed faces on window screens,
shafts of sunlight through cracks
on the day your daughter was born,
graduation caps, unpaid bills, a man
drinking cold tea in an unlit room.
This is not the denouement
you had written for yourself
at a creaky midnight desk
while counting the seconds
between rumbles of thunder.
It is a lie too soon, a white flash,
a pumping bloodroot,
a story with no resolution.
A black spot on a silent film.
The doctor clears his throat,
looks at the clock above the door
and asks if you have