Spiral: A Week After the Bone Scan

Paled by prognosis, fear trails me everywhere
making the inside of the ice cream store glisten
with a cold wet sorrow. We stand assembled
in a knot, passing tastes of Banana Daiquiri
on the tiny pink chalice of a plastic spoon.
Beneath my ribs — a private coiled quickening,
like the kicking during pregnancy. The smell of the unmiraculous
is everywhere as we seat ourselves in wrought-iron
sweetheart chairs. Talk and silence gather over a circle
of white cups. Revelation. The upward spiral
of white-cell counts. We cannot divest ourselves
of its necessary covenant between us. While sunlight
glances off conversation, caught in the cathedral-hazed
arches of the parlor’s mirrors, the slick marble walls.


Click here to read Ginnie Goulet Gavrin on the origin of the poem.

Image: photo by Michel Stockman on Unsplash, licensed under CC 2.0.

Ginnie Goulet Gavrin:Seven years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Seriousness became primal. In times of great uncertainty, there is a waning, where the mundane and the mysterious are seamless. Years earlier I had participated in a poetry workshop where we exchanged lists of words we found we kept re-using. I don’t remember mine, but on the list of another poet I found: chalice, revelation, covenant, miraculous, cathedral. With the diagnosis, I re-discovered those words as a gift. Every small moment had become both lighter and more weighted, where even the ice cream store shifted into a cathedral. Tenderness turned unbearable. I found we bear it by falling apart. I emerged into remission with a kind of stunned awareness of all that is simultaneously ephemeral and earthly in my life, as if appreciation itself is a spectral presence that follows me wherever I go.

Ginnie Goulet Gavrin
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