This was an exciting poem for me to publish. It won the journal Scribbendi's poetry contest and I was paid about$500.00 for it. that was exciting. This is one of Trevor's favorite poems too. He likes the ending - It is interesting to hear how people read the ending - I have heard a few different interpretations...again, I am not sure why these double space when I copy and paste them in here. This poem was also published early in 2008.
When Cancer Dropped By For Dinner
just for him,
a spoonful of mashed potatoes
and three yellowing
to his perpetual nauseas.
But he overstayed his welcome
Lounging around in russet-orange
velour suits, gulping milk
straight from our jug, insisting
we all spend Friday night
curled on the couch, fetal position
in a dark living room where we lay
like tumors with no light or sound
to stave off headaches.
He took up his own shelf
in our medicine cabinet
for panacea and elixirs:
and stomach-settling herbs
that smelled like week-old laundry.
He even climbed into our bed
between us, complaining
too hot, too cold,
pulling the comforter up only to pitch
it off again, so we spend nights shivering,
his knobby elbows bruising our ribs.
Over morning coffee he leers at us,
His flickering gaze wolfish,
and if he notices our red-rimmed eyes,
our sharp sighs, he grins and says,
Come on, you know me
I grew up with you
you’ve carried me piggyback
all these years,
long before you knew it.
So we have no one to blame
for his sunken-hollowed cheeks,
the waning-moon chest,
surgical scars, tufts
of thinning hair he leaves around our loft.
Sometimes I collapse at his feet,
cry and demand to know
when he will leave.
But he smiles, shrugs,
pats my head, and coughs up bile.
I am an ungracious hostess.
My husband is the gentleman,
he never leaves Cancer’s side,
attends to his every need—a glass
of Sprite at , seven hours
at the hospital, whatever he demands,
never mentioning the hell he’s made our lives,
at least not out loud.
And while I curse Cancer’s
name in our hallways,
scream, and throw the butter dish
against the kitchen wall
the two of them
sit side by side, weighing down
the corner of the bed,
and sometimes, I swear, I see my betrayalin both their eyes.