A Pantoum for Michael
by Shane Allison


He broke the news to me on the phone.
Sort of suspected he was sick.
Kind of had a feeling
but wasn't completely sure

that he was sick.
He was so skinny when we first met.
But I wasn't sure, completely.
I didn't want to jump to any conclusions

just because he was skinny,
just because his face was drawn in.
I didn't jump to any conclusions.
Cut the thoughts out of my head.

I mean come on, just because his face was drawn in?
There was a perfect explanation for the slips for prescription drugs.
Cut those thoughts out of my head.
I almost cried when he told me.

The prescription slips for drugs started to make sense.
"Are you taking care of yourself?" I asked him.
Teary-eyed on the phone.
"Yes, I have the best doctors."

He works out everyday.
"I don't want anyone to treat me any different," he says.
He sees the best doctors.
His father gives him money to stay away.

He doesn't want anyone's pity.
We don't talk about it much.
His father sends him money to stay away from the family.
I never knew anyone with well... you know.

We don't talk about it much.
I don't love him any less.
I never knew anyone with well... you know.
Now it all makes sense.





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