Poem Commentary

I wrote this poem in the half light of my hospital room on October 18, 2020. The day after Theo’s third year birthday. Symptoms had arisen–dizziness, nausea, fatigue. They sprang up each day around noon. I waited a week before going thru the emergency room at Saint Luke’s. After waiting for hours for a doctor, decided I had better stay the night and get scanned early (was about a month out from the scheduled scan). What—I couldn’t imagine—if not tumor growth, was I experiencing? And the hospitalist on duty reported a turn for the worse!

In Room N – The Indianapolis Review

Lili picked me up with the kids that noon. It was snowing—in October! and the deployed snowplows on I-70 taking exit after exit. I sat at the kitchen table in the house we’d moved into in July and wrote:

We ourselves are the big activity. – The Indianapolis Review

You say because I say. You were saying

because I am saying. Now that I am

dead, I am said. Already spoken.

Those lines were to be my last. It may sound melodramatic, but with a 14.6 month median life expectancy I have had lots of time to prepare mentally for my death. I do feel I occupy at times a liminal space between life and death. It makes less sense that I am alive than dead.

Nevertheless, the unimaginable has happened. Everyone agrees it’s not new growth but radiation necrosis. Over the summer I noticed an increased deficit, a definite loss in the functionality of my left hand that’s deprived me of the ability to play guitar and challenged my ability to unload the dishes, turn doorknobs, lift my daughter out of the crib, etc., but this is probably due to the scar tissue as well.  

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