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          Facing the Tumor
          By DJ Gaskin

          When they dangled the lump, safely suspended,
          floating in translucent liquid, snugly contained
          inside a plastic cylinder no bigger around
          than the quarter I pay every day for bad news;

          when they--the nurse at my request
          and my kindly surgeon's reluctant consent--

          when they held it just an unmoving
          arm's length from my face but high, forcing
          my hopeful eyes upward as if in prayer pleading;

          when they let me in on the medical wonder
          of witnessing that clump of tissue--white, rounded
          lumpy mass, cloudlike but so hard, a heavy knot
          deep in my chest just a moment past,
          now ready to dissect and ponder;

          when they dangled this private tiny solitary nugget
          of mystical tissue before me--my eyes could not
          open wide enough to see the whole of it--

          and I pointed out to all of them--
          and this, surpassing
          the delirium--
          that it was shaped just like
          a heart: heart-shaped and,
          I reasoned,
          as harmless.

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Document last modified on: 09/25/2005

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