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poetry
Edification
"Edification" - 3/18/20
 
When I was having my cancer treatment
My integrative doctor advised me wisely to write
In a journal. "Write, then meditate, then pray"
She would say, noting that it should be done
In that order, the goal being to purge, in effect,
The toxic urgency of worry-blame-confusion-stress
Before reflecting or being in the moment
 
I would sit, every couple months, in her spartan office
She was always so positive, smiley, comforting
Her specialty, acupuncture (but I never had her for mine)
She would say, in her calmly measured voice
That water was so important, and sunlight as well
In spite of everyone's fear of UV rays she noted how
Pale I was and sent me downstairs for testing sure enough
 
My vitamin D levels were low. Yes, she always came back
To prayer but not in an overly religious way, just matter
Of fact as though she assumed, me being an artist, I knew
What she meant (that writing and meditating naturally lead
To the phenomenon of giving something up to a higher
Power, in gratitude, grievance, or vicissitudes
I wonder, tonight about this doctor always so quick to offer
 
Her latest insights on immunity: mushrooms, herbs, reiki
She represented the moderate end of the scale of my "hippie"
Tendencies to my conservative family but because she was
Sanctioned by the sovereignty of Western Medicine even
Though her advice was steeped in Chinese tradition they
Encouraged me to keep these appointments usually but not
 
Always the same day of Magnetic Resonance perhaps a way
Of ascribing my body some subtle control amidst the chaos
These past 23 months since my diagnosis I have dedicatedly
Honed my ability to weather internal storms of doubt, sadness
Confusion and overwhelm by countering these reactions with
Yoga, health-food, long walks and performing, music being
The most healing of all modalities as always, but even more so
 
Now I think of this doctor, in her small, spare room pardoning
Herself from our appointment mere hours before, traditionally,
I would receive my "results"; she'd say "I'll be right back,
I have to go next door to remove some acupuncture needles
From a patient..." as though this was the most normal thing on
Earth I would pull out my phone or ipad, answer an email
Or two and then she would return, a look of genuine concern
 
Pulling me back to the present, demonstrating with crystalline
Certainty a reality where professionalism, positive energy and
Insight could intersect with fear and uncertainty and like a
Damn of faith keep despair at bay the key I always took away
From these "integrative" appointments was that I would never
Get there, I would always need encouragement, could always
Improve my ability to forgive the past, let pain go, embrace
 
Hope and holier with healing, face the future steadfastly
Lighter from leaving regret behind, lighter with clearing
The smoke from my eyes, lighter with knowing the things
I can't change, lighter with lifting the veil from my face
So the stranger's reflection becomes something pure
Not a means to attract criticism's azure seduction the fire
Of consumption's failure to cure what's required for rapture