After the chemo and the throwing up,

after the passion of a life upset,
after I watched the color of the skin turn yellow--

my thoughts more and more about things

that never happened--after I spent many nights
alone, happy for the police dramas on television,

I kept to myself.

The cancer saved me from having to go
to another book party

from having to ask M. to come back

who, after all, had fallen out of love
because I was different now, thin

bone and severity, free to consider

my absence, where nothing aches
and the messy sexual hungers are far off

in the past. After I slept for days,

after the dazzle of wild, repeatable dreams,
there was no afterlife,

just the same way from the bed

to the bathroom and back again
without the body.

- Jason Shinder, from Stupid Hope

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