Two-Pronged Attack

Cameron Morse


Freight trains woo, woo like some sort of haunted
mansion, a sheet of cloud the sky wears
over its head. I find a droplet

of blood on the toilet seat lid. Theodore rummages
in the oak-leafed flowerbed for a cobwebbed
bird house. There is the fact of chicken-scratched

coffee table marquetry, a constellation of pock marks
below my hand. I feel the damage.
There is grit, clots of tangled hair and lint

emptied from the vacuum cleaner.
Knitting circle loose configurations of geese
scatter over the house, honking.

The cancer kids in my dream are music students
unlikely to qualify for a grant, explains
my oncologist, because they have what I have.

From the kitchen I saw him standing
at the forbidden drawer for the hundredth time.
Neglected to wrest away his tiny hand.

Afterwards, I discovered the adapter and removed it.
The question of guilt is I represent the accused.
I could have intervened.


Cameron Morse was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing Program at the University of Missouri--Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, Portland Review and South Dakota Review. His first poetry collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press's 2018 Best Book Award. His three subsequent collections are Father Me Again (Spartan Press, 2018), Coming Home with Cancer (Blue Lyra Press, 2019), and Terminal Destination (Spartan Press, 2019). He lives with his pregnant wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri, where he manages Inklings' FOURTH FRIDAYS READING SERIES with Eve Brackenbury and serves as poetry editor for Harbor Review. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.

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