Fall 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1994 |

Song before Death

I. A Diagnostic Procedure Was Performed I have a cancer in my arm. I write So I can see it better—on the page—The words traversing the malignant stage Of countless, hungry cells as they divide Until I'm drained of something horrible. It's not the cancer, but the thoughts I fear. I recognize it came from me. I hear The pitter-patter of the pseudopods, I hear my parents whispering. (My arm Is like a microphone.) The center of My face, it seems a place I never loved— I have a cancer. Growing fast as germs. It looks so harmless when it's poetry. It looks so delicate, this shaking pen, This cursive script I learned when I was ten— The cancer in my arm is killing me. II. The Accident I broke the bone while I was flying down A hill on skis. I hardly even fell. The ski patrol arrived--they heard me yell, I guess—although I don't recall the sound, I thought I'd seen an angel, or a hawk Descend upon a kill. The pain was screws; The mountains, one gigantic fist punched thr

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I. A Diagnostic Procedure Was Performed I have a cancer in my arm. I write So I can see it better—on the page—The words traversing the malignant stage Of countless, […]

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