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Lung Cancer in Reverse Times—Lapse Photography

Lung Cancer in Reverse Times—Lapse Photography

Shutterstock

 

At three breaths before death

a blue latex hand pulls out a trach tube,

a blade skims over the zipped up hole,

and droplets of blood are sucked into skin.

The patient exhales, rises from bed and walks backwards,

out of the hospital into a car rolling

in reverse, smoke puffing from his mouth

in little clouds, each puff pulled into

the burning red tip of a white cigarette

which grows longer and longer before

he packs them one by one into a box,

the boxes arranged into cartons, cartons

into crates, men carting them

backwards, loading them on trucks

driving rear-end-first to factories

in Carolina and Kentucky where paper

unwinds and shredded tobacco flows

through blades and comes out whole,

the leaves returned to barns where

they hang sweet and moist in the hot

fall sun before ten foot plants are dug

into rich brown earth, shrinking

as summer cools to spring

until all that remains are a thousand

tiny seeds held in a farmer’s hand.

Continued on page 2 >>

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