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Julie Ann in the Bone Marrow Unit, Zion, Illinois

by John Rybicki

Ah Dame, I don’t know how else to love you
so I just start juggling. I’m on the street

Inspiration image

photo by Laurie Phelps

three floors below your hospital window,
lofting fish or birds that graze against my hands

and fly off, juggling cancer cells and carnations,
slipping in the bowling pin

we snuck out of that alley in Maine. Then I’m juggling
freight trains, and angels, and elephants,

dropping them all. I don’t care. So long as you
can stand near your high window and laugh,

so long as you stand near your hospital bed
clapping your hands.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

John Rybicki was caregiver to his wife during her fight with cancer. His latest book of poems, We Bed Down Into Water, is now available from Northwestern University Press.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, September/October 2008.

 

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