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Nine months to a year

was what the doctors gave my friend.

All summer he said he felt ecstatic.

That was his word. No, he hadn't

fallen in love with death.

Ecstatic was the way he thought

the world wanted him to feel--

trees swaying as he sat on his deck,

crickets in the grass, then the moon

coming out. They were all part of how

this was happening. Two months later,

when the serious pain set in,

he said he'd been wrong. Deluded

was his word. But why shouldn't

a man who knows he's going

to die believe he's found

some new kind of truth?

Then pain makes itself the truth.

Try to fool yourself now, it says.

Try to believe in anything but me.

By Lawrence Raab