Lazarus Trick

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audio of Barbara Westwood Diehl's poem, Lazarus Trick

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Lazarus Trick

Another day, another Lazarus trick,
at home, post chemo session number six
of intravenous R-CHOP—“The final dose,”
we said, and bid the oncology nurse goodbye,
“You’re great. We hope we won’t see you again.”—
at last unplugged from beeping IV poles,
not sleeping, slack jawed, in infusion chairs,
but home with me in freshly laundered sheets,
no fever now, a little fatter from Ensure,
but on your chest, there’s still that port-a-cath,
no longer numbed for painless sticks but still
protruding like a cap gun from a pocket,
a parody of a stickup, “Your money or your life,”
as if money could wave a wand, undo the need
for the urinal tucked inside your nightstand drawer
that once held tools, your lists of things to do,
the Motor Trends you’ve lost all interest in,
replaced by pills for pain, a swimming head,
a bowl in case you vomit—something else?—
I can’t keep track—but still you rise again,
restored to me, the parable again enacted,
cloths cast aside, you blinking, bare, alive.