Home About Us Features Write Now! Submit Resources

Unequal Battle

by Peter Goodwin

It is an unequal battle
this contest between an aging body
and a young vigorous cancer
but the body is still intact
missing a few parts, and tired.
Tired of this battle, tired of toiling
against an unseen foe, tired
of giving blood, tired of all those
pricks and penetrations
in arm, wrist, back and stomach
tired of dedicating time to the routines
of hospitals and surgeons, tired
of suffering the after affects
of so many healing poisons, tired
of wondering when will this body fail
cancer triumph, death collect its debt.
The tide of life is now devoted
to toiling away in hospital
waiting rooms and the tyranny
of its routines and rhythms
waiting for an appointment
waiting in large rooms filled
with other hopefuls
waiting in small sterile
claustrophobic rooms
waiting for technicians
with their machines and indifference
waiting for nurses
and their questions which are always the same
waiting for doctors who are always cheerful
as if this was a social call
waiting for the results
which are never so dire as to give up hope
and never so positive that hope is justified
waiting and wandering when will the other shoe drop.
This trial has possibilities
a doctor explains
We have this experiment
and that experiment
life is an experiment
something will work
we are making progress
five years ago we had nothing to offer,
five years ago you would be dead
now we have all
these possibilities.
Are your affairs in order?
No. Nothing is in order.

Peter D. Goodwin divides his time between the streets and vibrant clutter of New York City and the remnants of the natural world along Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, discovering in the dislocation of environments and cultures the creative edge where words rekindle their spark. His poems have been published in various anthologies, and in a number of journals including Rattle, Memoir(and),River Poets Journal, Delaware Poetry Review, Yellow Medicine Review, Twisted Tongue, Poetry Monthly, Main Street Rag, LockRaven Review, Sliver of Stone."This poem was written towards the end of a seven year battle with cancer," says Peter. "As the end approached, my late wife continued to choose life."