Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cancer by STANLEY PLUMLY



Mine, I know, started at a distance 
five hundred and twenty light-years away 
and fell as stardust into my sleeping mouth, 
yesterday, at birth, or that time when I was ten 
lying on my back looking up at the cluster 
called the Beehive or by its other name 
in the constellation Cancer, 
the Crab, able to move its nebulae projections 
backward and forward, side to side, 
in the tumor Hippocrates describes as carcinoma, 
from karkinos, the analogue, in order to show 
what being cancer looks like. 
Star, therefore, to start, 
like waking on the best day of your life 
to feel this living and immortal thing inside you. 
You were in love, you were a saint, 
you were going to walk the sunlight blessing water, 
you were almost word for word forever. 
The crown, the throne, the thorn— 
now to see the smoke shining in the mirror, 
the long half dark of dark down the hallway inside it. 
Now to see what wasn't seen before: 
the old loved landscape fading from the window, 
the druid soul within the dying tree, 
the depth of blue coloring the cornflower, 
the birthday-ribbon river of a road, 
and the young man who resembles you 
opening a door in the half-built house 
you helped your father build, 
saying, in your voice, come forth.

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