I live inside a cataract
in a dim and shrinking world
Peel back the blinds!
but the clouds just don't hear.
I live inside a lymph node
A mean and shotty mass
I try to kiss it, to calm it,
to shrink it,
but the node just thinks me absurd.
I wrote this poem last year in October immediately after writing The Year of Yes. Poems sometimes tumble out of me one on top of the other, like an afterbirth, a kind of truth telling. The writing of poetry, for me, is the telling of truths that cannot be otherwise told. Etiquette disallows the real grit of chronic illness to be aired or revealed. I use my eyes and smiles for social occasions and my pen for revelation.
The lymph node. Is painful. My biopsy last year diagnosed me with necrotizing lymphadenitis instead of lymphoma, which was cheering. And is, on the whole, fairly painless. Except for one node. The right cervical node. I want to pluck it out of my neck, where it growls at me, thrashing and biting. I want to ignore it or soothe it or laugh it away, but this feverish animal on my neck clings to me.
painting: frida kahlo, self portrait with monkey, 1940