Robert Estes

Neighbor’s Diagnosis 

We’re all survivors on a raft in heavy seas
though we usually look away
from our predicament. 
So many good things afloat with us!

A pain that doesn’t go away, as pain       
has always done, leads her to get a scan: 
something’s growing inside that shouldn’t be.                           
It’s not a child this time.   
Cells gone crazy. DNA revolting 
like Lucifer. Cancer may be just as 
destined to defeat—in the long run.
But we can’t count on that; we have this          
short-run show we want to linger in,                               
this the world we’ve always known and loved
with all its perils joys afflictions questions 
answers temptations supplications.

Grim is the word her husband used about         
the heaving waves they’re watching now.

© Robert Estes

Robert Estes, who lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, got his PhD in Physics at UC Berkeley and had some interesting times doing physics, notably on a couple of US-Italian Space Shuttle missions. His poems have appeared in The Moth, GargoyleThe Main Street Rag, Third Wednesday, SLANT: A Journal of PoetryTipton Poetry JournalConstellations, the anthology Moving Images: Poetry Inspired by Cinema, and a few other places.

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