What We Spoke About.
Do we discuss the fragile beauty of the Violet Carson?
Or the aggressive strategies of invading blackberries.
No. And neither Martin's aces nor monstrous joker babies:
Sander Blair, the Nazgul, Ananda Caine, all unexamined
The nightmare of the Fevre Dream as it sails below Natchez
And Maitre Julien's bloody reign among forgotten bayoux.
We speak only of our shared disease of rebel cells that plan to kill us.
Joe is a Deacon of the Seventh Day Adventist church
But we did not discuss theology, nor church politics
And Donovan jokes only of the place of drinking water
(Each of us must have our bladders full and our bowels empty)
But no-one makes jokes about our daily ritual enema.
Salvatore is seventy six years old and scared shitless
Once his name was inscribed above the door of a restaurant
But he speaks only of prostate cancer and the cells that plan to kill us
I met an old lady and saw the girl behind her eyes.
Those eyes were clear and blue and her smile deep as a younger sea.
She hid all signs of pain and yet she told me soon she would die.
She touched her face where cancer was and said the rays would not cure
But a touch could ease the pain for the months of her that remained
She lost her breasts eight years before and now smiled and told me how
She had started swimming again, for once she was a mermaid
Now her flesh was ulcerous and she was dying in great pain... still she smiled.