the healing muse

Volume 13, 2013

The Kidney

—for Dr. Jamie Costello

Cherise A. Pollard

Autoimmune diseases are like Italians,
doc says, you let one in and before you know it,
the whole damn family has piled in your house!

I laugh a little, relieved that she doesn’t ask me
Do you ever wonder, why me? Happy that she
actually reviews my family history
before my eye exam, asks about my brother’s Lupus,
mom’s illness, my Graves’ disease and Behçet’s.
She looks over her eyeglass rims, So many serious illnesses!
Did you guys live near a Superfund site? Seriously?

The lights are out, and I am reading
the smallest row as best I can. I tell her
it’s probably a little of both, maybe I hit the genetic
jackpot, or maybe I was exposed to something uncool
at some point, Jersey and Long Island are toxic
wastelands, we all know that, but who knows when or where?
But, it’s more about lost family history
than anything else. Old folks live with arthur-itis
so long, bad hips and knees, gnarled hands and feet,
they forget their original diagnoses.

They make you crazy, family, that’s for sure, she says
as she wheels in to look at my corneas,
but you have to remember the kidney. I put up
with all that craziness just in case I might need one someday.

Back to Volume 13, Table of Contents

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