Marie Kane


Try not to tell me to take your time when holding the door; if I could lag
      behind by choice, I would (sluggishness is not an option with MS)
            and I do appreciate that my sometimes

blind left eye discerns your kind face ignoring my conspicuous left foot
      drop, and that do good is your mantra, but refrain from suggesting
            that my walking will improve

if I comply with these cures: having a hysterectomy, or its opposite—
      pregnancy, enduring the repeated sting of honeybees, or the
            sipping of Aloe Vera juice at a bank-account-emptying spa

at Versailles—any of which ought to turn my question mark spine into
      an exclamation point. Should I ask for a bathroom never, ever tell
            me that I can wait. And for the life of me,

when I relate recent successes, don't cry out "Good for you!" (as if I
      were five and had just learned how to tie my shoes) —when I walk,
            stand, or stay awake ("Good for you!") —

or drive my car to physical therapy ("Good for you!") —or shower by
      myself ("Good for you!") —publish a book of poetry, ("Good
            for you!") drop nothing that day ("Good for you!")—and

when you spy me on my motorized scooter, don't saunter by and claim
      sotto voce to my husband, "I need that more than she does,"
           nor should you whisper that your mother, father, sibling,

neighbor died of MS, then tell me that I look Fantastic! Delightful!
      Splendid! Your flood of words insists that I am a marvel; my
            doctors say I am doing well, considering.


*This poem will be published in Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets forthcoming in January 2012 from Texas Press.


Marie Kane is the 2006 Bucks County Poet Laureate whose work is published in the Bellevue Literary Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets and, Wordgathering, the Schuylkill Valley Journal, and the Meadowland Review, among others. Kane was diagnosed with MS in 1991. Her book Survivors i in the Garden recently published by Big Table Publishing, is nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has received a recognition award for her poetry from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, and two Pushcart Prize nominations in 2010 and 2011. Her blog on poetry may be seen at