Drama of Two Selves

When we (my other self and I)
heard the news from Oncology
my other self wondered what people would say
how it would look
whereas I was shattered
he was asking himself
if he should not walk with a heavier tread
assume a melancholy air
I was in a state of panic
and he was wondering how it would affect our public image—
we did not see eye to eye

He was put out
and I was thinking of shining scalpels and pale green hospital rooms
he thought of the position he should take
in talking to friends
how he would spend his time
now there wasn’t much of it left

He would cancel every one of his magazine subscriptions
and concentrate on serious reading—
would he re-read the novels of Dostoevsky
and pick up “Middlemarch” again?
how would he dress?—
what does one wear at death’s door?

Would he “live every day as the last”?
weren’t you supposed to think more clearly
in situations like this
execute some brilliant plan—

Within six months, thanks to radiation in high and frequent doses
we were cured
not “cured”—
“in remission”
both of us

He speaks of his ordeal proudly
as an achievement
to all and sundry
and I have given up my efforts to restrain him

Stuart Dodds

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