Wednesday, August 17, 2011

waiting for the oncologist to call

I've reached the "Heaven" part of Eileen Myles' Inferno. God, the book's good. Wonderful in its own right, and then peppered with these bits and pieces that fill in half-finished stories I remember from other work-- Chris Kraus's trilogy, for example. The prose is a great rough tear of a thing, and then every so often there's a whole poem.

Skip's back surgeon said the oncologist would call, but he never did. So I called that office
to get the appointment information. Not a biopsy, the receptionist said. A consultation. The biopsy would come later. After I hung up, I phoned John to get a sense of the timeline-- A recent cancer survivor himself, he gave me lots of good information. A few minutes after I hung up, John wife, painter Amie Campbell arrived, bearing literature. A book, a magazine from the American Cancer Society. Things I can read in small installments. We sat over muffins and cappuccinos in my kitchen, complaining and laughing about the state of affairs in MEDICINE these days--and then suddenly she looked at me, "have you noticed the light?" It's the liminal space between summer and fall, and the morning light has taken on that oblique, slanted, golden-hour look. "Yeah," I said. "I have."

She's gone back to a painting she started last year at this time. She didn't have to say it. I knew she was telling me there's a life after this, a way to reconnect the thread.

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