Dressing Up

Funny how
your disease seems beautiful to me
now
with this special foreign
language I dug up
like a treasure chest
dress-up box
of furs and silks,
old velvet, tasselled, jewelled words
made like gloves for the tongue
explaining
the way your spine
went from untouched honeycomb
white helix of bone
moulded and soldered by surgeons
scaffolding
unfolding into a brittle bike chain
metallic mixed with porcelain
then
how they found out
about the schwannoma
and you were under construction
again
the subject of manuals and meetings
the way they spoke of you in
poetry
their methodical medical rhythms
reverberating through
your lumbar vertebrae
translating what we didn’t want to know
into
over-production of abnormal cellular elements
without control or limits
spinal metastasis
destruction of peripheral fibres and nerve sheaths
corrupting the epidural
soft tissues and spaces
fluid cushioning the cord
hoarding
these little phrases
rhinestones on your tumour
black onyx flies
on dried white faeces
dressing the wounds of the word
cancer.

Rebecca Ross

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