Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Even TV stars get cancer. She was diagnosed the week of her winning her umpteenth Emmy. I’m jogging near her home along streets named for northeastern Shangri-Las like Swarthmore, Haverford, Mount Holyoke . . . The occasional Rolls. Views along the palisades. Airplanes etching the dome of the bay. Everything looks the same. Soccer moms, fiscally astute fathers. Notes nailed to trees: Don’t shit. Don’t steal our lemons. Don’t disturb the occupants. I’m envious. Despite who I am and where I’m from: time was lifeless then. I notice now derelict houses with the elderly withering within. Good for them. My young daughter after a morning in the park, then ice cream, pronounces: “We have had a fun day.” Then oracularly: “When you die you fall asleep and wake up in heaven.” The TV star describes her cancer as a shark, her treatment is like swimming, and she must keep her focus trained on the ladder, the ladder in the pool toward which she swims. The shark is in the pool, I guess, which is confusing, but not really as that’s what it’s like, a shark in the backyard pool. She may keep her sickness secret. As is her right. I tread lightly up to her door, remarkably close to the street, and leave a tote bag of my wife’s chemo-survival supplies, as they are (somewhat) friends.  

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