David

The doctors gave him six months

six years ago. They called it

a fiendishly aggressive melanoma,

 

eating away at his face and jaw.

Each morning he packs the wound

with cotton, applies the flesh

 

toned bandage — Phantom of the Opera

mask. Malignant forces tug

at the corners of his eye, his mouth, his ear.

 

Morphine dulls the pain. He drinks

his meals, smokes the occasional

cigarette. An ex-Mormon,

 

he read the Bible for the first time

last year, found his namesake, the shepherd

boy, stone and sling, heir king to eternity.

 

No pestilence, Goliath of the modern

age, can abate the warmth, brilliance of sunlight;

the aroma of steeping coffee; or her night shirt

 

folded on the pillow. This is how it feels

to be alive. He is sorry for living dead

for so long; doesn’t regret the brute who reels

 

from the blows, staggers on, refusing to go down.

David knows the sad isolation of a bully.

He wrote the book, Despair of Materialism —

 

autobiography of a car salesman.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen, one by one.

Confession was good for Saul. Heaven

 

exists inside us all if we are willing

to walk through Hell. Would you thank

Cancer for knocking at your door?

 

Irony is not dead. Christ descended from David.

Consider the lilies, the ravens your soul, and ask,

Of how much more value are you than the birds?

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