fiction, poetry & more


by Michael Shorb

liver cancer’s fist
decks you at last,
hits harder than Ali
could hit, sprawling
you down on a stiff
canvas of hospital sheets.

learning this, I want
to write this poem
the way you always boxed,
coming straight ahead,
no fear, not flailing
with back street bully’s
abandon but with the firm
precision of the miner
swinging his pick
in a dark tunnel,
the night fisherman, casting.


Michael Shorb passed on August 8, 2012 from a rare form of cancer. His poems appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies, including The Sun, The Nation, Michigan Quarterly Review, Queen’s Quarterly, Commonweal, Rattle, Urthona, Underground Voices, The Great American Poetry Show, and European Judaism. His collection, Whale Walkers Morning, will appear in Winter 2013 from Shabda Press.