Lucky

By Dorothea Tanning 1910–2012 Dorothea Tanning
Ever imagining the dire, the sudden
the menace with no thought of the
gradual, the lingering itch of whatever.
That was my sister.
A stomach ache had to be diagnosed.
“Oh, come on, it’s no big deal.”
“How do you know? You aren’t me.”
 
At the doctor’s office she waited.
He reached for his stethoscope,
held it to her back and put it away
in his pocket. Then, leaning across
his desk, he asked importantly,
“How long have you been eating your hair?”
She couldn’t answer.
 
After surgery they came into the recovery
room where she had just wakened.
“You are a lucky lady. We found nothing.”
She had an incision and several visitors.
Besides, she was so lucky (incisions heal)
and not a little disgusted.
 
“Me, eating my hair.”

Dorothea Tanning, “Lucky” from Coming to That. Copyright © 2011 by Dorothea Tanning. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Coming to That (Graywolf Press, 2011)

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Poet Dorothea Tanning 1910–2012

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Health & Illness, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Dorothea  Tanning

Biography

Artist and writer Dorothea Tanning grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and spent almost 30 years living in Paris, before moving to New York City. Tanning started writing poetry in her late ’80s, and her work was subsequently published in the Yale Review, the New Yorker, Poetry, and the New Republic. Her first collection of poems, A Table of Content, was published in 2004. The epigraph to A Table of Content comments that “it’s hard . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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