Cameron Morse taught and studied in China. Diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014, he is currently a third-year MFA candidate at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and lives with his wife Lili and newborn son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri. His poems have been or will be published in over 100 different magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, South Dakota Review, I-70 Review and TYPO. His first collection, Fall Risk, is available from Glass Lyre Press.
Because of the mask that molded to my face during the fitting, hardening
as the warm water dried, the mask that fastened
my head to the cot, and because of the cot that carried me into the machine,
the BEAM that unloaded a single dose of radiation every morning,
Monday through Friday, and because the techs left me alone in there
to take my dose, closing the steel door
behind them, while the robot arm rotated around my head, firing
invisible shots of radiation, I wrote no poems. I had no thoughts.
The radiologist said I would be dead within two years. Ravens
decorated the ceiling panels. I read “The Masque of the Red Death”
on rides to the Department of Radiology, pulling down
my stocking cap over my ears. I shaved my head, grew out my beard.
For the first time in my life, I insisted on carving
jack-o’- lanterns, clawing out
the cold slime of their brains with my fingernails.