April 17, 2017
comedy, cure, daughter, Diagnosis, doctor, family, fitting in, friend, humor, incurable, mother, poem, poetry, see, Sharon Olds, sight, talk
By the time I was six months old, she knew something
was wrong with me. I got looks on my face
she had not seen on any child
in the family, or the extended family,
or the neighborhood. My mother took me in
to the pediatrician with the kind hands,
a doctor with a name like a suit size for a wheel:
Hub Long. My mom did not tell him
what she thought in truth, that I was Possessed.
It was just these strange looks on my face—
he held me, and conversed with me,
chatting as one does with a baby, and my mother
said, She’s doing it now! Look!
She’s doing it now! and the doctor said,
What your daughter has
is called a sense
of humor. Ohhh, she said, and took me
back to the house where that sense would be tested
and found to be incurable.
“Diagnosis” by Sharon Olds, from One Secret Thing. © Random House, Inc., 2009.
December 2, 2016
poem, poet, poetry
aunt, Cancer, death, family, friend, love, niece, Norman Dubie, poetry, The Funeral, water
It felt like the zero in brook ice.
She was my youngest aunt, the summer before
We had stood naked
While she stiffened and giggled, letting the minnows
Nibble at her toes. I was almost four—
That evening she took me
To the springhouse where on the scoured planks
There were rows of butter in small bricks, a mold
Like ermine on the cheese,
And cut onions to rinse the air
Of the black, sickly-sweet meats of rotting pecans.
She said butter was colored with marigolds
Plucked down by the marsh
With its tall grass and miner’s-candles.
We once carried the offal’s pail beyond the barn
To where the fox could be caught in meditation.
Her bed linen smelled of camphor. We went
In late March for her burial. I heard the men talk.
I saw the minnows nibble at her toe.
And Uncle Peter, in a low voice, said
The cancer ate her like horse piss eats deep snow.