I have no taste for whiskey,
although it seems over the years
I have developed a proclivity for cancer,
for building the nacre into pearl.
It’s funny how one can live with death
scooted to the borders, listening to it
rap the door with sub-audible gusts
that only your dog hears and barks at.
The holy trinity, my wife calls it,
three masses on the left, right,
concluding down in a rectal triangle,
a parasite, a dark natural beauty of my years.
The bad genes of my parents play out their divorce
in my body, diabetes and cancer
fighting for the claim to death’s victory,
my only peace being to cut them both out.
The Great Physician puts my cure
in the hands of fallible demigods,
whose inclination is to bury hope in the
condolences of the other well-intentioned masses.
“It’s great that you feel no pain,
Your color looks good today,” they echo
as the pallid tv weatherman I met
in ruddy years on the brown river shuffles by.
The nacre of the cancer ward-
an open shirt skeleton on oxygen,
two old black men talking loudly
about seasons of diagnosis and mistreatment,
just waiting, waiting, waiting to get better
caws at me as I make my way
to the reception table just bright enough
to not seem an open casket.
My wife fills out three pages asking
for family obituaries while I answer
on a tablet forty questions about death,
five about life, two about insurance.
I wait in quiet sitting in a clinical green chair
listening for my name to be called,
thinking not about the culled pearl
but the beautiful oyster thrown way.