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Reading Entrails

Sugar poisons

ruin your blood,
runs your legs
while you sleep,
revs your irregular
heart beat.

Maple sap, tree ripened
orange, dark chocolate,
honey dripping
from the comb
are not viable substitutes;
only abstinence
and the eleven day
skin crawl withdrawal.

Or an asymmetrical death:
one part at a time,
organ by organ,
memory fog,
the surgeons gnawing
like rats
at the leper's limbs.


About the poet:

Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM, where he hosts a poetry salon at his home twice a month. His poetry mostly appears on the Web. His has two self-published poetry books, Writers' Block and Greeting Card. Other pleasures he enjoys: baseball, bicycling, hiking the desert and foothills trails, Scrabble and good conversation. Gurney's Web site is www.kpgurney.me.

About the poem:

"A few people I know are/were in denial about their adult-onset diabetes. So I wrote and performed this piece a couple of times in public in the hope of jarring them into taking care of themselves. One of these people did go through sugar-withdrawal heebie-jeebies for what he said seemed like forever but was really about ten days. The title comes from the ancient augury practice of reading the entrails of a sacrificed animal to predict the future; the twist here is that it's the diabetic's insides that do the prognostication."

Poetry editors:

Judy Schaefer and Johanna Shapiro