Sunday, June 25, 2006


Here is a poem I (Julie Moulds) wrote about Tracy in the last entry. It appears in my book, "The Woman with a Cubed Head," (Kalamazoo: New Issues Poetry and Prose, 1998. ISBN: 093-282-6660.)

Bone Marrow Unit: Tracy

I knew a man who left his wife after nine years of chemo--
left her to die, her lungs filling like someone underwater.
In my mind, she is drowning still and forever;
gasping and making bad jokes, like the last time we talked.
"She was funny," I tell my husband, "feisty-funny
with a little acid laced in." "Tracy," I imagine
that other husband stating, "I want children, and a wife
who isn't rotting, and yes, I've picked her already."
And that, I know, approaches the truth.
Whatever he said, he said it long distance,
over the phone, out east from Maine or Maryland.
He tells her he's left while she's Intensive Care,
a hygienic room in a bone marrow unit in Illinois.
A week later,that woman--with whom I'd laughed and walked,
other months and this, before
they siphoned the bone marrow from my blood--
a week later that woman was dead. I was asleep or drugged
and connected to six machines, but Tracy
was up that night, screaming in the tide. My husband,
wandering the halls in his yellow scrubs, paper hat,
and blue boots had to hear, until morning, more death
than he wanted to, with me three doors away.
She was my age, thirty-two, and still
honeymooning in Florida when her cancer came.
"We used to like to play tennis," she said.
Her husband had gall to fly in that last morning.
Had gall to make that final appearance. I tell myself
not to judge: only God can do that. Tracy had been
though more chemotherapy than anyone I ever knew--
and maybe this was the only way God could get her to die.


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