Nick in Time

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Episodes stitched together by whiskey, Winehouse,

what ifs, enough soot & tar for a bubble bath.

Do forty-four pack years doom me like Doctor Faust’s

twenty-four with Mephistopheles? Screw the math.

The sun scoffs at the small spark cupped in my hands.

A loose cotton thread frayed by mindless fingering,

quivering, I pray to be cut before I learn

how much carcinoma costs, what lingering

means. I see myself as ash in a pink salt urn

The stars despise me for stomping out my light.

before my fibrosis tastes like burnt tin foil.

If I run everyday, eat more salad than fries,

if I stop starting mornings with a drag & lies,

could I pause/rewind this spinning mortal coil?

But the moon has felt the pain of rebirth and longing.

It’s in her dry eyes, her cracked lips and yellowed teeth,

a smile that knows the illusion of reprieve.

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Correspondence to Matthew Lee.

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Lee, M. Nick in Time. J Med Humanit (2020).

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