Day After Diagnosis


Barbara Walters asked, “But what would you do

if the doctor only gave you six months to live?”

Asimov answered, “Type faster.”


The urge is to write ALL THE BOOKS.  Some may be

too ambitious.  The epic science fiction series,

the fantasy trilogy, the huge, tangled memoir

on love and nationalism and writing and sex.


Even the cookbook revision may be too

strenuous – will the body still be able to endure

hours chopping onions, ginger, garlic?

The scent alone may be too much.  Strange

to contemplate – food no longer a comfort.


Yet surely the poetry, domestic & small,

will be manageable.  When first writing

as a broken-hearted student, it was poetry

that emerged, words that wouldn’t speak

out loud, weeping their way across the page,

sometimes raging.  Catharsis and consolation.


My partner asks, if time is limited,

which book is most urgent?  What hasn’t

been said yet?  Time is always limited,

and so far, everything known well enough

to say, has been said.  That’s something.


But time is not yet over, and every day,

more small truths emerge in the silences.


Asimov was right.  As long as fingers

and mind function, there will be writing –

as much as the body can stand.  There will

be poems, but there will also be books.