Transcript for the Piece Audio version of Everything is Relative
Everything is Relative
Everything is relative.
I am in relatively good health, I think, even if I have dry eye, irritable
bowel syndrome, and now a mild case of melanoma. And I look good, youthful for a man of 49...
Or is that an oxymoron?
I must be a complete moron to believe this, to want it, to hold onto youth
when the train has left the station.
When will it sink in that I can?t wear Levi?s jeans, cargo pants or bikini briefs any
I am superficial. Where are my deeper values, my heft and gravitas?
And now, the nurses tell me,
I have superficial malignant melanoma.
Isn?t that redundant?
Isn?t all melanoma malignant?
These words have too many syllables, too many layers,
like the skin that clothes my body.
I am lost among them, looking for a way out,
waiting for the surgeon to show me an exit strategy.
I wait, pacing in the room where he will examine me and
deliver his prognosis, edict, plan of attack.
This attack will include stainless steel instruments, local anesthetic,
the opening and closing of my skin,
the removal of invisible wadding?flesh and blood.
?Melanoma is not superficial,? I want to tell them.
Mild cancer cannot comfort me.
And then it does?I have the promise of time, more time,
and am reminded of its weight, more precious than gold.
Still, I hear the tick-tick of the station clock,
the flip-flip of the train board where all tracks lead to
Meanwhile, I trace the contours of my form, curiously 2-dimensional,
like the map of Finland I created for a 6th grade school project.
Freckles grow and darken, erupt into moles,
tectonic plates shifting underneath my skin.
I wear this map on my body.
The elevations are removed,
inspected for collateral damage.
I am anxious for the knife, the cut of steel, the rich flow of my blood?
but not too much,
that will rid my body of its sickened cells,
and restore me to relative health.