Fall 1989 • Vol. XI No. 4 Poetry |

Diagnosis

To be touched like that from so far, collusion of skin and sunlight--one ray, one cell, the collapse of fenceworks, wanton roots squirreling in. I feel mined, primed, nicked like a leaf to a brown spot of burn that catches the eye. Visited. I probe the small swelling with one eye, the other squinched shut for better vision, hoping to know inside out this intimate enemy that bites through bone if left to its own staggering devices. So this--as if a star, a myth, had fallen on the back garden and was standing there facing me when I walked out with the garbage--this is it. The word, detached and absolute, comes over the phone. "Malignant." And the day chills a little, ghosted, goes briefly, like my life, out of focus. Somewhere a knife is sharpening. My skin shivers. That is me shivering, but I see my skin as if it were another--a dear close companion, a lover, a brother--shivering. When I go out by day now it is like concentrated swimming through a hot storm of light: I hu

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Eamon Grennan has published numerous volumes of poetry including There Now (2016); Out of Sight: New and Selected Poems (2010); Matter of Fact (2008); Relations: New and Selected Poems (1998); and others.

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