My husband was recently diagnosed with small cell lung cancer and is about halfway through chemotherapy and radiation. This is a part of how I am trying to deal with it.
I calm no beasts with sweet and gentle strumming.
I do not charm or mesmerize with song.
The thorns on roses harden when they hear me.
And beasts sharpen their fingernails on my tongue.
Death hovers like a yellow gas above us.
Swirls around your eyes and chest and head,
Clings like slime to each second of each day,
Sleeps like a black cold slab in our bed.
Not with a thousand notes can I
Make ghosts cry or stay the pain of the eternal damned,
Pluck Persephone’s longing for the life she abandons half a year,
Bring forth the Furies tears with stroke of hand.
Bloody stars tumble from my open mouth,
Pour from my eyes, embedding in my skin.
Fill my heart as hard as rock.
Clog my veins until they blaze within.
I will not plead. I will not beg the gods,
Perform and wait for their approval.
I am not Orpheus.
Follow me out of this dark place.
No matter how faint your step,
No matter how light your breath,
I will not turn my head.