by P M F Johnson

After a long and valiant struggle
they might say . . . only he hasn’t struggled,
of course, nor put on the brave front,
battled, inspired anyone: you wouldn’t want
to live like that.  Diabetes, emphysema,
he’s just ignored it all.  How you
slough off heart failure I have
no idea, but there he is, yakking
despite the Alzheimer’s about how
his beloved baseball team is doing,
forgetting mostly his cane when
it’s time to go out; host to
a pair of cancers, one they carved out,
one they ignored because something else
is sure to get him first.  Oh,
and something will.  He’s holding a
sort of competition of the grave diseases
amongst himself, but he’s still
here, decades later, grinning up
at any visitor who walks in the door,
still quick to hug, still quick
to grab that next doughnut.


P M F Johnson’s poetry has been published in The Threepenny
, The North American Review, Nimrod, The Evansville
, Main Street Rag, Measure, and several “Best of”
anthologies. He has won a Plainsongs Award and been a semi-
finalist for The Pablo Neruda Prize.

On “Still Quick”:
This is a sketch of someone close to me who brings cheer to all.  
I wanted to portray the fundamental contradiction of his life, even
the hint of miracle.  I never think of him without smiling.  He’s
82 years old now, and still chugging along!   

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 9, Number 2
(Fall 2014)

Copyright © 2014
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.