The Loop

The cancer arrives in summer
Pain stipples my vision, white sparks fly
I’m all bones and always cold
There are no more treatments, but the doctor tells me there’s an option
The Loop
A neural implant inserted into my temporal lobe will provide the perception of another life
My childhood holds memory-hints, ‘fantasies,’ mom calls them
I study ornithology in college and marry for love
We raise three children, then retire to a lake-side cottage
The cancer comes in winter
Pounds peel off, and my bones feel colder than the frozen pipes
We’ve exhausted all therapies
Memories flood
There’s an option, the doctor says
It’s called The Loop

—L. R. Conti