Eric D. Goodman

Yin Yang Yankee Doodle

When I looked back at my calendar, noting that
the day I celebrated my promotion was the
day you received your cancer diagnosis,
I found myself reconsidering that old,
thrown-off notion of
“balance in the universe,”
some spiritual Robin-Hood force that
seizes from here to
bequeath there,
instigating pain someplace to
confer pleasure someplace else

The great balancing force that allows
the U S of A to
reap so many benefits,
soak in ocean hot tubs of wealth and comfort,
wield influence over the world, a
benevolent bully.

That judicious robber-baron “Core,”
only in its own intuitive wisdom understanding that
those poor families in war-torn communities
need to sacrifice for the benefit of
knowing those skeletal zeroes living in
huts in barren lands are
paying the admission for the
billionaires’ necessities,
the need for more zeroes illuminating the ends of
account balances.

people are dying and being born,
are becoming ill and becoming well,
getting married and divorced,
falling in and out of love, feeling pleasure and pain.

Mask are being worn like medals and other
masks are thrown aside like burdensome shackles,
knees being taken and hearts being covered.
Hearts are being repaired and replaced and
broken and swollen with
love and disease.

Still unaware of your unrevealed diagnosis,
I remember I felt on top of the world
after that unanticipated, unneeded promotion
added far less than an additional zero behind
my gross income, until a
rejection letter for my latest novel arrived to
remind me that all news was not good news.

The manuscript did not meet their needs at that time,
needs apparently met by someone else,
someone undoubtably celebrating the abundance of
good fortune befalling them,
perhaps unaware, perhaps fully aware that
somewhere else, the cost of their
success was another writer considering giving up.

One day after receiving the rejection letter,
I saw you and your new scar
and learned that you had been diagnosed with cancer
and cured of it all in a matter of quickly passing weeks.

I discovered that the day of your diagnosis matched the
day of my good fortune; the
day of your cure, the day of
my rejection.

Stirring deep within me: the suppressed memory of an
inkling that there is,
however unjustly administered,
some tilted balance in the

© Eric D. Goodman

Eric D. Goodman lives and writes in Maryland, where he’s remained sheltered in place for most of the pandemic, spending a portion of his hermithood writing poetry. He’s author of The Color of Jadeite (Loyola University’s Apprentice House Press, 2020), Setting the Family Free (Apprentice House, 2019), Womb: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing, 2017) Tracks: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books, 2011), Flightless Goose, (Writers Lair Press, 2008), and the forthcoming Wrecks and Ruins (Apprentice House, 2022). More than a hundred short stories, articles, and travel stories have been published in literary journals and magazines. Learn more at

Back to Main Loch Raven Review Site