My Wife at 24: In the lab there was a... - Advanced Prostate...

Advanced Prostate Cancer

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My Wife at 24

Cisco99 profile image

In the lab there was a cat. Its head shaved bare,

and sticking out of a wad of putty was a wire.

When the cat saw Rachel come in, it jumped.

Only it didn't land on all fours, as most cats do.

It hit a cabinet drawer and fell on its side.

And Rachel wants to know

what good is a cat like that.

Every day she bikes by the Masonic Cancer Hospital,

chain grease blackening her nurse’s scrub pants.

Today she saw a face in a window on the second floor,

It was looking out at her, then pulled the drapes shut.

A big exam is on the way

and she's missed her period

and the cab driver neighbor upstairs plays Sonny Rollins

late at night, and nothing she says makes any difference.

I don't understand it, she starts crying one day,

why do people want to be mothers.

21 Replies

Went waaay above my head. If there was a point you were making there, it bypassed me completely. And, I am not blaming it on "cancer brain" :-)

If you could spare the time to explain, I'd be really grateful.

Thank you, Cisco99.

It’s a poem about a section of time in his wife’s life, when she was 24. She may or may not be pregnant (I think).

Thanks, I got that.

However, I'd like Cisco99 to reply if he can spare the time.

Thanks again.

Cisco99 profile image
Cisco99 in reply to NancyWorld

You got it. We lost the baby.

NancyWorld profile image
NancyWorld in reply to Cisco99

Oooh, I’m sorry...

I love that. Thanks for posting. It means what it means to me.

I don’t get it...but I like it....just not sure why I do.


It's a picture of my wife before she was my wife. Working hard to become something. Dealing with anxiety, poverty, abandoned by her parents, feeling stalked by life's shortness when she wants to do great things, save the world. Having children threatens her ambitions.

Of course, it means more to me than it would to you or others. She went on to become a star, helping poverty stricken people in the Himalayas, working with Inuit people in Alaska, writing a book about our daughter's suicide.

At 69, she is still that intense young girl. Now I am the "child" in her life because of my illness, She saves me every day . She can be difficult, pulled in too many directions. But I admire and love her ferociously.

Thanks for asking for an explanation. The poem is 45 years old. It feels good to say it plain.

Kaliber profile image
Kaliber in reply to Cisco99

I see a lot of heart felt , heart wrenching prose in your work brother ... I believe that is directly your intention, much , if not all of the time. That and the interesting Dissociative but at the same time coherent technique you use is impressive. Like with everything, it’s different strokes and sometimes everyone’s a critic ... not everyone is going to be able to see it. ( who cares and maybe that’s the point )

Perhaps it’s the fertile garden bed that you lay down that encourages us to grow our own heartfelt thoughts and heart wrenching reflections in it ...that Is the reality.

I still carry around your haunting imagery of the brightly colored scarf ... and most of all the emptiness of that styrofoam cup full of coffee brother.

Did you write it that way .... am I writing it in my head that way triggered by your stimulation ....

Does it matter ..... it’s beautiful

Peace brother ...👍👍👍👍👍

Cisco99 profile image
Cisco99 in reply to Kaliber

I didn't intend for the scarf to carry such weight. But writing for me is dissociative, as you say. I sign my name to things but really, I don't know where it comes from, or why the emphasis is what it is.

I've made my living writing -- journalism, how-to, commercial work. But this is the stuff that matters to me, even though it pays nothing.

That styrofoam cup was from a poem by Franklin Brainerd, whom I knew, and who died in 1973, of leukemia. His poem "Rainmaker" ended with a plaintive plea: "In a world of earthenware, I come with a paper cup."

I.e., we lose everything we love in life. In the end all we have are the most fragile, least valuable things. But they are everything to us, so long as we can hold them in our hands.

Kaliber profile image
Kaliber in reply to Cisco99

Well for me the scarf was tear jerking... I opened my own little cabinet drawer of many brightly colored scarves and used one to dab away my tears.

The styrofoam cup was killer ... the filled but empty symbol of the husbands emptiness of his inability to offer his deeply loved but dying wife any help at all ... just that horribly inadequate , symbolic , sad “ styrofoam “ cup of coffee. The contrast / juxtaposition of desire, seeming worthlessness and emptiness.... wow ..

You’ve got something special burning inside there somewhere .. seems intuitive level mind AND intellectual, esp if you aren’t fully in conscious touch with it yet. Keep reaching, feels like you are almost there ... welcome to intuitive mind my brother.

Heavy doooooooode ✌️✌️✌️

Btw: I wonder if you are now or have ever been associated with Mensa ? Just wondering.

Cisco99 profile image
Cisco99 in reply to Kaliber

Sorry about Mensa, no. I never had the intellect. I sat in Johnny's Ace Bar some years ago where a Mensa group was holding forth. This particular group did not look or sound like world leaders. The beer, no doubt.

Kaliber profile image
Kaliber in reply to Cisco99

Yayahahahaya probably more like a table full of huffy, arrogant self absorbed drunken bozos on that buss.

You definitely got a spark burning there brother ... keep putting those twigs on it ....


dentaltwin profile image
dentaltwin in reply to Cisco99

Had a friend (now dead) who joined Mensa. He seemed like the last person I'd imagine sitting around with others complementing how smart they all were.

"Nah," he said. "It's a great place to meet gals!"

I found it by "search" on ,my hard drive. It had cancer in it as a scary reminder to the young woman that life is not always long or wonderful. You have to both work hard and be very lucky.


the world shoves all of that, and more, in our faces as if trying to kill hope, yet still people want to be mothers, and more..

even cats hope

Cisco99 profile image
Cisco99 in reply to kapakahi

We'd all be sunk if women just said no to babies.

Great as usual......

My ex-wife at 35, crazy as a fxxxing loon.....

Good Luck, Good Health and Good Humor.

j-o-h-n Tuesday 12/17/2019 5:36 PM EST

Why does this make sense? But it does. That's genius. Thanks Kid

I love your posts. I didn't understand this one until NancyWorld explained it. That being said it didn't matter that I didn't understand it. Even without full understanding it I couldn't stop re-reading it. I'm not a person that likes to read a lot but I love reading your posts and I loved reading this one. Like everything else you've posted it's beautiful. You need to write a book.

Cisco99 profile image
Cisco99 in reply to Pierreb

Thanks Pierreb. That's a wonderful compliment! (Something I sometimes have trouble receiving)

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