Old hair tufts in the terra-cotta pots of the waiting room, the same coarse grass that sprouts from my father’s ears and nostrils and collects under the razor when he bathes before radiation, five days a week
for six weeks. I don’t want his body to give up. Headless necks and stiff nipples: these misshapen planets, yellowgray tumors are his. The moon keeps coming back
and of course the infinite physicians whisper, of course they do, hovering around the cancer wing like invaders in white coats. Their gossip sounds alien and hushed. I can hear their ray guns warming up, see the laser target
etched on his shaved neck. Tell me more about solar flares. Let me take a picture of the zipper of staples sealing your neck. I always cringe at the flash. Come closer, there’s dirt under your nails. Let me clean them.
Stacey Balkun received her MFA from Fresno State and her work has appeared or will appear in Muzzle, Los Angeles Review, THRUSH, Bodega, The Feminist Wire, and others. In 2013, she served as Artist-in-Residence at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has been selected as a 2015 resident at Firefly Farms and the Hambidge Center. She lives and writes in New Orleans.