Osteosarcoma: A Love Poem

By Yvonne Zipter Yvonne Zipter

For Easton, Zooey, and Nacho

Cancer loves the long bone,
the femur and the fibula,
the humerus and ulna,
the greyhound’s sleek physique,
a calumet, ribboned with fur
and eddies of dust churned to a smoke,
the sweet slenderness of that languorous
lick of calcium, like an ivory flute or a stalk
of  Spiegelau stemware, its bowl
bruised, for an eye blink, with burgundy,
a reed, a wand, the violin’s bow —
loves the generous line of  your lanky limbs,
the distance between points A and D,
epic as Western Avenue, which never seems to end
but then of course it does, emptying
its miles into the Cal-Sag Channel
that river of waste and sorrow.
I’ve begun a scrapbook:
here the limp that started it all, here
your scream when the shoulder bone broke,
here that walk to the water dish,
your leg trailing like a length
of   black bunting. And here the words I whispered
when your ears lay like spent milkweed pods
on that beautiful silky head:
Run. Run, my boy-o,
in that madcap zigzag,
unzipping the air.

Source: Poetry (May 2008).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2008
 Yvonne  Zipter

Biography

Yvonne Zipter is author of two poetry collections, Like Some Bookie God (Pudding House Press, 2006) and The Patience of Metal (Hutchinson House, 2000).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Health & Illness, Living, The Body

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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