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Frances Was With Me

In my mind, stuck and frozen
While I listened to her broken sobs
And my erratic, frantic heartbeat
As I heard that word again
Crushing around me, squeezing my heart:
Cancer
The pain is back, she tells me, and who knows where
Or how bad, or what happens next
She was with me through that phone
The most minimal of our connections
As my heart broke, again
Fragments of my hopeless love
Expelling from my eyes
And down my cheeks
As soon as the phone clicked
Off

The world stopped spinning for a moment
I swear
As unease and uncertainty
Crushed whatever was left
That was holding me together
Cancer
As my heart broke, and I couldn’t
Breathe right, anymore
Might never breathe right
Again
Panic and pure sorrow turned my
Already aching heart
A solid charcoal, as I left myself to cry
Childish and uninhibited
And let Frances be with me in my mind
As death and illness danced around her
Smoky and dark

The phone ran again
That same evening
Frances calling
Not to complain, not to call for
Comfort or a shoulder
But only calling to make sure
That I was okay
Which I wasn’t, and am not
But sometimes there’s no choice
And I have to put on
My last brave face
For Frances





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