I think cancer years, the 12 month periods we endure when we or someone we know is battling a disease, are agonizingly longer than normal. And during those years our bodies seem to age in accordance with our perception of the passage of time distorted. I was scouring old posts about Ms Yue to add on a new site meant to raise funds for her and The League of Extraordinary Chinese Women ( TLOECW) when I came across the draft of a poem written one year ago. The good news is: Ms Yue, though in some discomfort and worried about some lymphatic swelling, has cowed cancer for a full year. Her hair has grown back to the extent that she can almost tie it back with a band. Here is a written toast to Ms Yue, one of dozens of poetic anniversaries that will serve, by comparison, to happily distance her from disease. THE UNSINKABLE MS YUE When she called, yesterday evening or the night before, I had to walk into the thick heat of Southern China toward our prostitute of a River, beautiful after dark and flattered by artificial light. I found it especially hard to breathe because she reeks of factory smoke and poverty. During the day, the sky, one grey cataract, ignores the whore whose name no one speaks with longing in their voice The water was unlined: a corpse without worry as I began to prepare a place in my memory for what I would destroy perhaps forever: The hair, the forty-five years of silk still glistening with the kisses of an adoring mother and vigilant father She asked to me conceal the evidence of the waning of the infinite. I was told to cut and shave the perfect blackness, the magnificent mystery of the history of moonlight, fires, and the wind that has run fingers through the remembered and the forgotten. “Love is so short, forgetting so long” when it is a name like hers that you clutch deep in your throat. As strong as she will be, and as proudly high as she has always held her head, the quarrel with her body may always look the same I dressed sorrow as a bright pearl and suffocated my sobs, because the still water, so deep below me, could not, would not, dismiss my questions nor the ones I knew she would never ask. Second Draft For YYL October 15, 2006

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