The aphasic has spoken
I’ve a new identity
After stumbling over my old name,
Mom has given me another.
It comes out precise and fluid
I suppose it conveys her secret hopes
After all, Simon says
And Ferdinand the Bull
Would much rather smell the flowers
Than fend off matadors with swords
She too, I suppose,
Would jump at the chance
To escape the bull ring in her brain
And find a new identity
Something like the old one
Coherent, loquacious, unfiltered
What a cruel stroke of fate
To be robbed like this
For every subject
To lack its object
For both her sons
To see their Mom
Redefined,
Diminished,
Every token word
A bloody struggle

Corey Langer is a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he serves as the director of thoracic oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center. He is the past and current president of Delaware Valley Poets, which he joined in 1994. He co-leads a monthly reading series called Poets at the Library in Princeton. He has had his poems published in Stylus, US 1, Edison Literary Review, Annals of Internal Medicine, Oncology Times, Identity Theory, and Quick and Dirty Poets, and several anthologies.

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