, , , ,

This poem first appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of The Antioch Review.


by Jim Daniels

Cancer appeared on the page.
At first he imagined maybe concern or certain,
career or anger. He changed the first c to d—
dancer. Easy enough, and impossible.

Cancer appeared on the page
and he changed the r to l—cancel.
They said it was small, could be
removed. Spreading? They would see.

Cancer appeared on the page.
He changed the c to d and the e
to o—candor. He wasn’t ready
for candor, but it was ready for him.

Cancer appeared on the page.
He wanted to be a dancer, but all desires
were infected, all whims drained.
Cadaver? Too many letters,

at least for now. He felt it inside him,
a bad check for the rest of his life. Penalties
to be determined. Patterns obliterated.
Cancer appeared on the page

and when he turned the page,
it was blank.



DC H&SS, Jim Daniels, March 14 2014

Jim Daniels’ latest publications are the chapbook, Apology to the Moon (BatCat Press, 2015), Eight Mile High, stories (Michigan State University Press, 2014) and Birth Marks, poems (BOA Editions, 2013). Daniels is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.






© The Antioch Review 2015