Troy In The Cancer Ward

Such a Greek gift this cancer is
inside your body, crone artifact.

Cronus, chemo, metastasis,
a blade taking time in your breast,

adulterers flogged, our family sacked.
Poseurs and posies, pollen spilt,

demon drops, lemon drops, alveoli,
arteries garroted and bled.

All the unholy mysteries
confessed to the oxygen mask,

thermometer no sweet to suck on.
The specters of every defile,

still wounded, appear at this bed.
Odysseus under the ribcage,

white with rage the night,
so claustrophobic with heroes.

Opiates the prize and the purse,
every breath a sulfurous mess.

Assault nurses repress the pressure,
anything to halt the rocking. Bit

again, Vitruvian toy. Reaper
on a hobby. Bolts. This is the death

rattle chincherinchee. Iron maiden.
Hoarse. Feathermen. Bring me my colt.


Linda Ann Strang is the author of the poetry collection Wedding Underwear for Mermaids. Her work has been published, or is forthcoming, in many fine journals including Yemassee, The Hollins Critic, and PANK Magazine. The editors of Poetry Kanto nominated her work for a Pushcart Prize in 2007.