I drift down, into the needle
Bed, and dream of spiraling pine
Cones. Yet again, I find a broken
Offer instead, because the forest
Only knows honesty. Lying
Gently in my hands, I cup
(Like my heart) a broken shell.
A deserted robin’s egg, hatched
Speckled turquoise, open,
Fallen from branches, a cradle
Rocked by the wind’s hands
From the green canopy above.
(Like love) I listen for anything
Hungry. Hoping to hear frantic,
Open red beaks. Tiny beggars’
Purses, singing safe and
Sound. Napped, maybe stolen,
Straight out of the blue?
(Like a thief) A prowler,
Spiriting away to the hills,
Ducks into a fox’s den:
Just a stone cold hole,
No longer vacant or available.

(Cracked like an egg, now
even I cannot afford emptiness.)

My phone call to Cancer’s customer service

A transcript of my imaginary phone call to The Cancer Store’s unhelpful desk. While the veracity of these two seemingly innocent characters is dubious, the names are changed to protect their identities, so by reading any farther, you waive your rights to any legal action should they bear any resemblance to anything or anyone living (or dead.)

Cut into conversation in progress between an agent the Cancer Store (CS) and dissatisfied client (Me):

Me: No, I ABSOLUTELY HATE having metastatic breast cancer. (Blows nose, whimpering)

CS: Mmmm hmmm. (Background sound: filing fingernails)

Me: Can I return it, please?

CS: Our product works very well, right? (Smug, mocking)

Me: This product works exactly as it should, yes indeed, too well. Although, I really hate the overall ownership experience. (Getting tense)
Me: Where do I send it back?
Me: Hey look, I don’t appreciate your attitude. Ridiculous! The total cost of ownership adds up to an exorbitant amount of money. I can’t see the value in a million plus dollars a year to treat it. And it never shuts up. Keeps me up all night, doesn’t let me hold a full time job…and it’s wrong, all wrong. I want my life back not stupid Cancer!
CS: (Yawns audibly, sniffs) Yep. Umm hmm.
Me: Well, I can’t afford it and it really just doesn’t fit me at all. So I’m sending it back.
CS: Did you receive our free sample and try it? (several people giggling call now on speakerphone)
Me: Yes, but I swear I never asked for it. (Begin tears)
CS: Ma’am for the last time, it IS all your fault. Of course you deserve it. Don’t you remember the time you stole Barbie clothes on Easter from a drugstore open on Easter when you were nine years old? (Uproarious laughter from crowd of people on speakerphone)
Me: Is that when I picked it up? I would think…
CS: Really? You would think? (Sarcastically sounding like the Charmin Toilet Paper man)
Me: Look! I learned my lesson and that was over 40 years ago! I was a child. This doesn’t seem fair. The cancer I got just keeps growing, and somehow no one could even detected it for years. Now, it runs off and hides from treatment. I would never order a generic anyway…I would ask for it by name brand, not just generic C A N C E R. (Spells out Cancer, desperation in voice)
CS: Oh dear, you have the wrong department, I need to put you on an eternal hold in which you will hear only dead silence. What stage did you purchase, ma’am?
Me: Stage 4, well I didn’t purchase anything at ALL! That’s the reason why I called your so-called service department in the first place. (Sounding triumphant)
CS: The number 4? As in metastatic cancer? I only show “lobular breast cancer” on our order form, miss. You may have to speak with a supervisor. Please sit silently on hold for the rest of your life.
Me: Wait! WAIT!!! What did you say? Wrong department or you’re getting your supervisor? Hey!
CS: Both. Oh, wait before I put you on hold, would you mind taking a survey to help us improve our service? And we are running a special on chemotherapy from the creators of your cancer epidemic! We’d be thrilled to help you with your treatments in a lifetime contract service plan. Don’t worry we kill 113 people from Metastatic Breast Cancer every single day!
Me: You have got to be kidding me!
(Clicking noise followed by dead air, Cancer customer puts phone on speaker phone but cannot hang up… fast forward to surreal scene of a bedroom 50 years in the future to the skeletal remains and hair on the floor of my former physical self, as the new demolition boats come to tear down the now oceanfront house, in San Jose, California.)
The End