You welcome illness like an old friend.
You run to her, expectant and impatient to catch up
on shared knowledge: At last, new help in explaining
the problems of your years.
Now you are armed and protected:
You have the final word for every argument,
the answer to all questions, an impenetrable shield
to guard habits others would take from you.
Now you have a loophole in your job’s tight net,
an escape hatch that leads to home,
a newly named fascination
that gives outline to a confusing world.
Now you have a topic for all conversation,
a thesis to spark your curiosity, purpose to fill the empty calendar,
carte blanche for acquiring all your heart commands,
a reason we should love you more.
Other mothers collect spoons or Lladro;
you collect diseases like baseball cards,
and we finger them lightly and listen mutely
as you recount your latest passion for self-immolation.