this ghost song of my own
Cancer now a song sung low: melody’s long exhale
the melismatic languor
of high summer’s relentless shimmer. The brightest
still remember the coldest burn of your mid-
Diagnosis reaches us through air-conditioning
by dye injection, by lidocaine, by the carefully
of anaesthesia. (Song sung low, this lullaby a
of morphine and the lesser pain meds, the slather
and the photographic record of your breast’s
One week later, when the nurse gives her authoritative
nod it cuts
through heat, through sudden chill, offers the curative
experience, that old song sung on auto, like the hum
of some machine.
Kate Middleton is the author of Fire Season (2009), awarded the Western Australian Premier’s Award for Poetry; Ephemeral Waters (2013), shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award; and Passage (2017).