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Cancerous Indifference | Poetry

On the Other Side of the War: Digital Art by Shawn Michel de Montaigne

If conflict defines us—and I think it does for so many—then what do we do

when a structure opens the way to laughter, or to a reverent moment alone,

or to a place where suspicion smokes elsewhere? What then?

He’s dying. Then again, he never really lived. It’s in his eyes, in the cancerous indifference in

them. That thing in his fingers, cherry-red at its end and glowing in the dark: that’s all that

really matters. And even it, I suspect, doesn’t mean all that much,

like a friend one tired of long ago but who never leaves and is never welcome to.

I was marveling at radiant dust lanes and fiery pinpricks encased like diamonds

in cotton. He saw me standing in the dark across the lane and growled, and then, to ruin my

view, turned on his porchlight. The lanes and diamonds disappeared in the glare.

Want to know the greatest shame? This bit of free-verse will serve as his

only and truest tribute—and his epitaph. He’ll be gone soon—the doctors have quit giving

him chemo—but still he wouldn’t join me.

He doesn’t like me. I don’t hold my life in contempt as he does his.

That makes me weak in his eyes.

What a goddamned fool.


From Fractalverse: Volume Two


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Fractal art: On the Other Side of the War by yours truly