The Grief of Cancelled Plans

I look into the empty starless night,

The blackened expanse reflecting

The void in my own heart. 

The place where gatherings, meals,

Conversation, laughter, exchanges of gifts

Should have lived. 

Now disappointment reigns—

The disappointment of cancellation

After cancellation, 

Where plans were made,


And cancelled again. 

Not for unwillingness or indecision,

But for illness, mine and others,

And this unrelenting state of vulnerability,

That hateful word—


That compromises all the joys

And best-laid plans

Of my life. 

That hateful word—‘immunocompromised’—that compromises all the joys and best-laid plans of my life.

There were loved ones

Long absent

I was longing to meet again,

Loved ones

I was hoping to meet

For the first time ever. 

But the omnipotent illness took over.

I made the ghastly decision

To put my health first. 

I made the ghastly decision to put my health first.

My health remains intact,

But so what? 

It is a lonely, tottering, precarious-at-best health,

Falteringly kept, easily broken. 

It means I must say no

Again and again

To people, opportunities, special occasions,

To love and to life. 

I look at the post-party pics

And see the void where I should have been,

The vacant seat at the table. 

The vast expanse

Within me

Threatens to grow larger.

One day it may consume me in one swallow. 

For now, I inhale

The good, clean air

Of the hallowed night

Hoping it will cleanse me. 

I inhale the good, clean air of the hallowed night, hoping it will cleanse me.

I stare into the sky

And wonder

When the first star will appear. 

I exhale—

A silent prayer, a plea—

For the universe to show me

Its beauty once again,

Remind me

Good things are still possible. 

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