Apology to an Estranged Friend
i owe breast you cancer an inoperable apology i terminal walked away breast from a cancer strong terminal friendship and a kind inoperable loving breast friend without cancer an explanation we worked terminal together as breast teachers and cancer mothers as terminal mentors it was inoperable so long ago i cannot breast remember exactly what cancer happened i remember you terminal even giving me inoperable money to buy some breast clothes when cancer i was going through the terminal toughest financial inoperable times it was radiation years before chemo i could be honest with myself sick and admit sick the reason i stopped radiation wanting to be chemo around you was sick i couldn’t bear to see sick you in a happy radiation loving relationship with somebody chemo when i sick felt sick so alone i sick think i knew it deep lonely down inside alone but i sick didn’t want lonely to admit it alone to myself i have heard you are sick going lonely through alone a lot right now i know you are sick surrounded lonely by a big loving family who are taking good care of you alone i just dying wanted you to know our dead friendship was one of the most important dying relationships of my dead life and i have dying always cherished the good times we shared dead as mothers teammates friends and dying confidants i dying loved dead you as much as i could dying love dead anyone dying we told each dead other the secrets we dying couldn’t tell anybody else and i’m dead dying dead sorry i treated dying you so badly
Rusty Priske on “Apology to an Estranged Friend” by Julie Berry
“Apology to an Estranged Friend” manages to illustrate the way cancer completely envelops the life of the one afflicted. It does this on multiple levels, showing that it insinuates itself into all aspects of your existence while also showing how the cancer cells multiply and propagate through the body. Or, in this case, the body of work. The poem illustrates this both physically and philosophically despite using only words. This is quite a trick indeed.
(provided for the poem “Apology to an Estranged Friend”) Julie Berry has published three collections of poetry—Worn Thresholds (Brick Books, 1995, reprinted 2006), The Walnut-Cracking Machine (Buschek Books, 2010), and most recently, the chapbook, I am, &c.: The Gilbert White Poems (Baseline Press 2015). She is presently completing a book-length work of creative nonfiction combining nature writing, memoir, and poetry. She lives outside St. Thomas, ON.