Thursday Jun 29

Cole-Krawtiz.jpg Cole Krawitz was a Lecturer in June Jordan's Poetry for the People Program at University of California, Berkeley in Fall 2009. A Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow, Cole received an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Lesley University's Low-Residency MFA Program. Cole’sarticles have been widely published, including in Newsday, The Advocate, and The Forward, and his poems have appeared in Zeek, OCHO and The Queer Collection: Prose and Poetry 2007. Cole lives in Oakland, CA, with his heart roaming in the boroughs of New York City.
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dear lymphoma, aka hodgkin’s disease stage IIa, or was it b?
 
 
eight years ago this month
we had our first date
gave one another the eye
shared a smile.
 
we’d gauged one another
in broken stories of
father’s sacrifices
as his mother died.
 
i’d met your cousin before
during aunt judy’s visits
donning different wigs
bleach blond bobs
 
mahogany red jane jetson twists.
no one knows if brownstone
squatters who bought her groceries
brought heroin as well.
 
we’d even daydreamed together,
yes, your cousin and i,
in my childhood bedroom on cannon road,
perched on mauve plush carpeting
 
i embraced family matriarchs
and accepted fate with ease
as only nine year old imaginations can.
 
my life plans had breasts off by 49
your cuz beaten by 51
enjoying hair again by 53
past shaken dead cells flaking off my back
a photojournalist in Alaska’s bareback pine mountain trees.
 
but, y’all just aren’t satisfied
with daydreams.
 
and we did more than flirt.
 
my stomach clenched in more
than first-date jitters.
 
at seventeen, i didn’t think i could ever love you
i didn’t believe x-ray machines or CT scans—
i didn’t tell people about you.
grandma still thinks I cut my hair.
easier to keep you my secret.
everything changed once people met you.
 
only kyle asked about you
late one saturday afternoon in
the locker room showers after an away game win.
she never knew the gift she gave me
at seventeen, co-dependent
 
on your misery.
 
at twenty-one
i yearned to graze your cheek
whisper you goodnight
and sing you Sade.
 
at 26, i wanted to rename myself chayim
and bring you warm apple kugel in bed.
 
lymphoma, i didn’t think i could ever
wrap my arms around you
 
our lives so entangled
every breathe was yours
 
and mine no need to try
something new once i did
you’d arrive, again
white coats reminding
like i could ever forget
 
that there was a time
where all i wanted to do
was take
my body
and beat it against the ground
anything hard.
 
Were you not my siren’s call?
Am I not your light tower?
 
i think of you often.
i am still here
breathing
your name.