What I Want

Ellen Goldsmith

From: No Pine Tree in This Forest Is Perfect. Sleepy Hollow, NY: Slapering Hol Press, 1997

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Dr. Lerner's voice wakes me with the word
malignant.  I want Vic.  He comes, squeezes
my hands, strokes my face, kisses my lips
The future takes a new shape 
A mastectomy.  A biopsy
of the other breast.  Chemotherapy 
Perhaps another mastectomy

Back home, I write letters for refunds
on our summer vacation to Europe
buy nightgowns that button in front
arrange insurance, pay lab bills

Today, I wake
wanting the pumpkin muffin I bought
yesterday at Sarabeth's.  It isn't there
and there's nothing else I want to eat
I want to kill someone
The black shirt I want to wear
to the doctor's office isn't
in my closet, any drawer, the hamper 

The world's not keeping things safe 
The world's taking away what I want

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