Astrocytoma by Cameron Morse

Untitled 16″ x 20″ oil painting by O. Norton, June 21, 2016.
Untitled 16″ x 20″ oil painting by O. Norton, June 21, 2016.


by Cameron Morse

Jeff, a former navy
man, rides a butterfly
needle into my vein:

The line leaps with my
red river of platelets,
lymphocytes, white

blood cells. How long
does it take to become
a phlebotomist?

He shakes the vial,
a cocktail of yellow gunk
and blood, his arm

a blurred mermaid, mine
a bruised creek,
the scar tissue still dark

from last Tuesday.
About eight weeks,
I guess.
It took me ten

years, I’m told, to grow
my astrocytoma big
as a golf ball.

On night watch, he says,
I used to drive golf balls
off the edge of the

Gerald R. Ford, satellites
arcing through the stars. ■


Cameron Morse taught and studied in China. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014, he is currently a third-year MFA candidate at UMKC and lives with his wife, Lili, in Blue Springs, Missouri. His poems have been or will be published in over 50 different magazines, including New Letters, pamplemousse, Fourth & Sycamore and TYPO. His first collection, Fall Risk, is forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press.

©2013-2018 Small Print Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the publisher.