The uninhabitable spaces between us

still in my heart

why are you there?

you have sold me out
more than once
disappeared when I was sick
returning when I was better
long after I stopped being contagious
and noted when the news caught up
with what I’d been saying about opiates

she’s been talking about this
you say to others
I realize that you did not believe me
until the news agreed

another with words
“If you make me choose
I will choose her.”

I think “you just did.”
do you hear?
that is a threat
to shut me down
to shut me up
to shut me out

you won’t choose
I choose now
I walk away from your threat

another tells me to visit
and talk about her dead

she has refused to talk about
my dead
to me
for five years

how can she ask me
to talk about hers?

I walk away
kicking the falling leaves

I carry each of you
in my heart

as the space between us



For Mindlove’sMisery’s Sunday Writing Prompt #288.

Over the Rhine: All of my favorite people.

cancer pen

A patient told me about the “cancer pen” yesterday. I promptly pictured  Star Trek’s Bones holding his device over patients, but no, this has to touch tissue…aka a piece of you…and do a chemical evaluation. It is to be used during surgery.


This is neat new technology… but. I can hear my sister saying, “Uh, so what about PREVENTION?”

This is technology to remove cancer after it’s already grown. And presumably metastasized. So this is stage II, stage III, stage IV cancer.

Cancer deaths are the second biggest cause of death in the US. Around 23% of yearly deaths and that does not count the people who survive cancer. At present we do not have many screening tests for cancer: pap smears continue to evolve, and now the recommendation is an HPV test or pap smear every five years AND we have a vaccine for the high risk HPV.
We can screen for colon cancer.
Mammograms for breast cancer.
The screen for prostate cancer sucks.
We can do skin checks.
The screen for lung cancer is now a low dose CT in a certain population that is high risk, that is, smokers. The recommendations have not addressed smoking marijuana.
Recommendations in the US are here:

There are lots of cancers that we don’t have screens for…. yet.

Proteomics is on the horizon. Genomics is looking at the genes, but it turns out that lots of cancers and infections and other illnesses have particular protein patterns. There is TONS of research in this area. Someday we may have protein tests: put a drop of blood or urine on it and say, “Hmmm. Looks like you have a positive test, probable lung cancer.”

That in turn creates problems. Initially we may be able to diagnose a cancer but not FIND it. Also not know how to treat it. The first big study trying to set up lung cancer screening had over 600 worrisome CT scans out of 1000. How many lung cancers did they find? Nine. And half of the nine had symptoms and could be found on chest xray by the time they did repeat CTs. Think of the anxiety of the 600 people who might have cancer and “We will repeat the CT scan in four months. Don’t worry too much.” Also there were complications from biopsying the lungs, like bleeding and pneumonia….

The best bet to avoid cancer is still living in a healthy way: don’t smoke anything, avoid addictive substances, eat good food, exercise, have friends and loved ones, work for yourself and your community, do some things you love…..


I took the photograph of my sister in 2011. She died of breast cancer in 2012. Her blog is here: butterfly soup.

For the Daily Prompt: strut. Struts support things: airplane wings, cars, things that move. How do we as a culture support people to live healthy lives?

moon in morning

For the weekly Photo Prompt: Ohh, Shiny!

But, you say, it isn’t shiny.

No, it isn’t. Because even shiny things today are not distracting me from my grief about our country, the lack of ethical morals in our government and twitterpated tweets going out daily.

And here is the moon watching as the sun rises and light and warmth fall over the earth. The mood matches mine: quiet and still thinking of the dark and of love and of hatred and of grief.

Moon in mourning.


Forgiveness 2

I wrote this poem in 2009 when I was struggling with forgiveness and wanting to forgive. How do we forgive when someone does not apologize? When they do not explain nor listen to your hurt and grief? Yet forgiveness is internal in each of us. The external is reconciliation and that requires listening from both sides.


I want to forgive something
In fact a group
Something that hurt a lot
I’ve tried logic
I tell myself
“It was an expression of concern”

My heart doesn’t agree
It is sullen
Immobile and grumpy
It whispers
“They have not apologized”
It whispers
“When people say you’re crazy
It could be a joke
An expression of concern
It wasn’t
It was a palm held out
At arm’s length
To distance me.”

My head argues
“That’s what it felt like to you.
You don’t know their intentions.”

I want to write
A poem of forgiveness
Hoping my heart will follow

My conscious doesn’t write my poems
My conscious wrestles with an idea
The poem comes out of this struggle
I look at the poem I’ve written
I think,
“That is what I would like
my conscious heart to feel.”
My poem is often more generous
than my conscious feels

My poems are not mine
They are a gift
From the unconscious
It is much larger
Than the small conscious me
I dream of feeling envy
I climb into a bathtub
And transform myself
To battle a trickster
We are transported
To the bottom of the ocean

In the ocean
The trickster and I are one
It is unlimited
It is not my unconscious
There is no separation
It is all unconscious

I did not think
A poem would give forgiveness
But pain drove me
Into the sea
I am connected
You gave me these pearls
Thank you


I am submitting this to the Daily Prompt: jiffy. I wish this could happen in a jiffy…. but it is slow….