the healing muse

Volume 13, 2013


Judith H. Montgomery

Because he is not ready.
Because he does not want
to know, I fold

and count and stack
and lock away the facts.
Three manila folders splay—

bad hand across my lap.
I ready for oncology,
cram reams of research

he can not bear to hear:
prognosis. Metastasis.

I become Curator
of White Papers,
latched basket of lingo—

survival, percentage
cooped up in my throat
because my husband—

who will lose his spleen,
a slice of pancreas,
half his diaphragm

to the shining splendid
edge of a scalpel—
cannot bring himself

to ask. Housekeeper
of Cancer, I tend
its difficult laundry. How

many months he has.
We have. I make
of my ribs a wall of white-

washed shelves.
Fold and stash each terrible fact
neatly as his handkerchiefs

and socks in the drawer.
When we enter the clinic,
I hold the door. I will not

ask   anything   where he
will have to hear—
one year. Two. None.

Back to Volume 13, Table of Contents

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