bad news
by Anthony Liccione

he told me
it was bad
and spreading,
and rather not
worth surgery.

just this fast
the words
departed him,
and left a hollow
cavity in the room.
made me wonder
how many
people he
had to fill in
during a footbrake
that they were
then go back
to his normal
way of living.

this is complicated,
you have a rare
in your bloodstream
that’s incurable,
something of an
was all I
needed to hear him   
repeat again.
how much longer?

give or take
he swallowed,
five months.
but I just found love
I told him, a
love I’ve never
experienced before.
I told him
I don’t drink
or smoke,
I read the Bible
and go to
I try to eat
more greens
and stay
fit by morning
and vitamins,
where did i go
wrong, I asked.

he told me
to keep doing
what keeps
me happy
and never
stop loving.

the more I
wanted to plead
the more
the doctor
seemed to shuffle
me off,
like the arm
on a record player
when the needle
clicks back
and forward
in the groove
of the end song
stuck in place.

I left his office
hearing things
in a different
the mixture of
snow and rain,
dropping down
in clumps              
from a deep
black sky,
hitting like
nails against
a sheet metal

the cold wind
how it raced
up the west
ribs of trees
and through
my lean

I thought
of all the bad
things I’ve
done in my past,
and asked
thinking God
had gotten
His final say;

I thought
of the argument
my father and I
ten years ago,
and how the
telephone strangled
itself with its
own cord

I had the sudden
urge to write him
a letter
when just then,
sorry seems
to be the hardest
came on the radio,
as I steered
against a blinding
trying to find
the road.


Anthony Liccione lives in Texas with his two children.  His poems
have appeared in several print and online journals, and he has written
four collections of poetry.  

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 5, Number 1
(Spring 2010)

Copyright © 2010
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

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