Katherine Traynham
From: Can You Come Here Where I Am? Poetry & prose of seven breast cancer survivors. E.M. Press, 1998
Last Modified: May 6, 2003

Don't be alone
the doctor said
For awhile
keep people nearby
Don't be alone
with just yourself
until you feel better

But I couldn't wait
to get them out
Away from the house
and from my rooms
Where I could pace
and cry and mourn
and play the piano

And I would wail
and wring my hands
And flutter through
family knickknacks
Evoking names and
memories of those
Gone on ahead

I'd play old songs
and weep for them
And conjure up
the newly dead
And wrap myself
in tragedy
For heartbreak's sake

Eventually, I got to where
I bored myself
With vacantness
and even my
Mortality lost its infinite

It came to pass
that I ran out
Of melodrama
starring me
And somewhere near
the denouement
I left the theater

Left alone
even I will start to
Yawn eventually
and no one holds
The center stage
who stars, directs
and rents a box

Don't be alone
and watch the same
Production of your misery
unless you also
Have the nerve to
take the critic's chair
near the exit

It should have closed
that first night
But the backer hadn't
any sense
And so it dragged
through several acts
And too few rewrites

These one-woman shows
(don't be alone)
Are bigger than life
(don't be alone)
But now, ensemble roles
are what I seek
And I feel better.