31. Time Refused

Lying in the chemotherapy clinic, he thinks about Coleman,

while Caroline reads Mink, thinks about the years in New York,

his most successful book, Slow Fade to Blue, National

Book Award finalist, one critic called “a miracle of invented

language,” and he thought he was writing English,

now out of print, and the next two books vanished

without a trace, a one-book wonder. He was teaching

at the New School, then fled to the west, writing daily poems

that pile up on the shelves and no one reads, not even

Caroline who says she’d rather talk to him than read him.

He’s thought of burning them, the emotional equivalent

of what Coleman called “going to the balcony.”

He’s reading Proust in the chair while the Taxotere

slowly poisons him, the cancer cells dancing in the fog

of memory. At this rate he’ll be dead before he gets to

Time Regained and thinks about skipping ahead,

going to the balcony with an armload of poems.

Call it Time Refused. Call it the end of anxiety.

Call it the dropping away of body and mind, no one

not even David’s invented and multiple selves survive.

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