Radiotherapy–Jake Adam York (Poem)


Because they lived near the signal tower,
voltage purring like a church
before the preacher starts,
or because she’s talking
in the very middle of the noise,
the doctor says to pray,
to radiate The Word of God into the boy
and recall each fallen cell
to the righteous body, but all he hears
is grandma’s story, how at night,
if you hold your radio close
you can hear the dead whispering through.
She explains how her sisters
wired their mom’s old Silvertone
after she had passed away,
braiding her hair in the speaker’s leads.
She says that if he listens
he can hear her sisters arguing
over every static’s peak, her mother
saying Time to go to bed.
She starts again.
In the distance someone’s asking
why it won’t stop hurting,
and the church is working like a round,
everyone trying to start
something new,
but all anyone can say
is what they’ve said before,
old stories, old prayers
all that’s breaking through.

2 responses

  1. Kelly,

    I remember well Jake talking about you with the highest praise for your work and for your philosophy. Thank you for remembering him, especially from the Plains since I have heard nothing from the English Department there. What good times he had there, as did all of us as a family. Know that you were a part of his life and his own philosophy. It is reading posts like yours that keep him alive in the greater public sphere and privately in our hearts…. All the Yorks — David, Linda, Sarah, Joe, Kathryn, and (Jake’s newly arrived niece) Emma…

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