Poem: a minute of silence

6 inklings - saturday

for Oliver, 25.05.2014

“Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another 
unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease.” 
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

a minute of silence please
/of the blood or bone marrow/
blood transfusions on monday
/immature white cells/
tests on tuesday
/a treatable disease/
wheelchairs up the elevator
/treatments involve chemotherapy/
and steel-like determination
/the rate of cure depends/

a minute
/the age of the patient/
as they slip away to the steps
/children are more likely/
blushed noses and swollen eyes
/to be permanently cured/
ring a round in circles
/a complete cure is unlikely/
standing to the side
/successfully treated for years/
a phone pressed to the ear
/can affect people at any age/
“mum, he’s gone”
/means white blood/
“i’m scared. i can’t believe it.”
(they’re probably bringing in the counselor)

exposed necks and pressed hands
/a lack of blood platelets/
/fighting pathogens/
(i did not know him)
/pinprick bleeds/
this sentiment
/unable to fight off/
a crowd gathered
/a simple infection/
he played the guitar
/some patients experience nausea/
he learnt from youtube videos
/or a feeling of fullness/
he only ever said “okay, everything’s okay” – that fighter

/no single known cause/
it was leukemia
/symptoms vague and unspecific/
it was a teacher walking out
/one fifth not yet diagnosed/
unable to control the shakes
/200,000 die every year/
from the crease in her lips to her wavering shoulders
/and romanticised/
she breaks down

a minute of silence
with a heavy heart
“he left us at ten
last night”


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