after reading about Huntington’s

18 03 2007

it was the blue and gold
of towels that brought you to me again
in the instant i stood there looking
at the towels i saw you
a long time ago
in the blue and gold of a high school jacket
in a brown suede golf hat
in a wheelchair
along the sidelines of a basketball court
in the winter

and i wondered then
what parts of you do i have
the square of your face
folds at the corners of my eyes
that i’ve been told are my mother’s

you once reached for a towel
in the throes of your cancer
and wrapped it around your bare middle
and told me don’t stare

but a daughter has to stare
at a father skinny legged and crying
at his own insides
a daughter had to stare
she saw
her square face was her father’s
and she had to place it somewhere quick

what parts of yours did you give me
is what i thought
with the towels
and i’d be a liar if i said i wanted everything

that thing
that took you

Today in the Sunday NY Times, I read a pretty stunning article about a woman who has learned that she carries the gene for Huntington’s Disease. I suggest reading it since it brings up the question of, given the chance, would we want to know our fate? I suppose it stuck with me because tonight, twelve hours after I read the article, I came out with the following poem. Click here to read the Times’ article.




5 responses

19 03 2007

Actually- I read that article online just before reading your poem. It really is an ethical dilema…I don’t know how much information is too much. I guess it all depends on what actions you can take. If you can find out and then act on the knowledge it is empowering, but if you can learn your fate only to then wait in fear for the inevitable, then why?
When I was pregnant with the each child I was offered the requisite blood test to check for genetic disability ( i.e Down Syndrome). But, I declined. I thought, “If I know, what then?” Will I be able to change anything? I could opt to terminate the preganancy, but I knew I wouldnt do that. So, I decided to forgo that specific blood test and not know. I was fortunate to have 2 healthy children. I wonder if I had not, would I have wanted that time to come to grips with what was happening? Would 6 months of preparing to have a child with special needs make me any more ready than I would be coming into it cold? I guess it all depends on who you are and how you cope.
Your poem was beautiful. I hope it comforts your soul to write like that…

19 03 2007

I think of having my palms read sometimes. And in one respect, it’s kind of silly because where’s the proof for that kind of thing? But with science–with knowing for a fact that something’s inside of you that no matter what you do you can’t avoid–it’s a scary proposition. People always say they want to know what lies ahead and then come up with plans to avoid it….but what about the things you can’t avoid? It’s like Oedipus, I guess. Knowing his fate and then doing his best to stay away from it.

20 03 2007

Pretty powerful poem. This recently became part of my life too. It’s very difficult but honestly, I think my sister and I look pretty good!!

20 03 2007

tried to attach a pic but couldn’t 8-( Sent it to your email.

20 03 2007

The picture is great, Rob! I love it. And it’s true, you two look beautiful. Want me to see if I can put it up here?

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