[from the Crab Sonnets]
They sank a silver zipper in my chest:
a foot of snag-toothed staples used to chain
the cavity where cancer bloomed its yeast.
The lovely morphine drips: I don't complain.
I feel aloof; the nurses glide like ghosts,
their chat like crinkled cellophane: I sway
upon an inner stalk each time I'm dosed.
The lights stay on to keep it day all day.
A voice in surplice hints I'm deeply hurt,
provisional, as rumored in my blood.
My tongue feels bronzed; I try but fail to blurt
against demeaning signs of likelihood-
a gullet's a hard barter for a cure.
I'll bite down hard, disjunctively endure.