Nine month to a year
was what the doctors gave my friend.
All summer he said he felt ecstatic.
That was his word. No, he hadn’t

fallen in love with death.
Ecstatic was the way he thought
the world wanted him to feel —
trees swaying as he sat on his deck,

crickets in the grass, then the moon
coming out. They were all part of how
this was happening. Two months later,
when the serious pain set in,

he said he’d been wrong. Deluded
was his word. But why shouldn’t
a man who knows he’s going
to die believe he’s found

some new kind of truth?
Then pain makes itself the truth.
‘Try to fool yourself now’, it says.
‘Try to believe in anything but me.’

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