Multiple Sclerosis

By Cynthia Huntington b. 1951 Cynthia Huntington
For ten years I would not say the name.
I said: episode. Said: setback, incident,
exacerbation—anything but be specific
in the way this is specific, not a theory
or description, but a diagnosis.
I said: muscle, weakness, numbness, fatigue.
I said vertigo, neuritis, lesion, spasm.
Remission. Progression. Recurrence. Deficit.
 
But the name, the ugly sound of it, I refused.
There are two words. The last one means: scarring.
It means what grows hard, and cannot be repaired.
The first one means: repeating, or myriad,
consisting of many parts, increasing in number,
happening over and over, without end.

Cynthia Huntington, "Multiple Sclerosis" from The Radiant. Copyright © 2003 by Cynthia Huntington.  Reprinted by permission of Four Way Books.

Source: The Radiant (Four Way Books, 2003)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Cynthia Huntington b. 1951

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Health & Illness, The Body

Biography

Cynthia Huntington was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania. She earned a BA at Michigan State University and an MA from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
 
Huntington’s free verse poems often examine the bare mind, restlessly turning the form of the individual against both built and natural environments, mapping both threat and respite against a shifting screen of personal memory. Introducing her early work in . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.