Up Broome-way recently, I was reading Philip
Hodgin’s early poems about cancer
and thinking back to my own fights with it,
wondering what the poems might have been like
had I started writing my own by the time it all began.
I put his book down to pick at a nail
and found a huge, hairy spider having a rest
on my left thigh. I raised a hand and batted it onto the dirt,
where it scurried off into the scrub.
Thought returned to the surface, and with it
a faint sense of surprise, that I’d moved so calmly.
It can be unsettling to find your body behaving
so competently without you. Always those fangs,
half a centimetre long, nearly resting on my jeans.
© Stuart Cooke