diagnosed by Cynthia Mutterperl

and suddenly
the world was small,
within arm’s reach.

She didn’t look me in the eye
and I could see the lab results quiver in her hand.
she was young,
and green in the clinical ritual of delivering bad news.
Perhaps she expected to calm hysteria
(a burden that comes with the job)

but I remained still.
un-able to speak
sight fixed on a thin crack in the plaster on the opposite wall.

the baby squirmed in my arms
searching for milk.

and after what seemed like hours
her voice miles away
a rambling lyrical refrain with terms such as
and melanoma
and metastasized
I breathed.
and the light shifted.
and the baby settled in to nurse
gripping my finger with his dimpled hand.
I brushed my cheek against his curls.
and I knew
that my work here was not done.




Cynthia Mutterperl is an Adjunct Professor of Humanities at a small community college and a large online university. She lives in Bucks County, PA, with her husband, four boys, three cats, and one dog. When she’s not hiking in the woods with her dog, teaching philosophy to her students, or building forts with her sons, she is writing. She has been a writer for most of her life, scribbling notes and lines of poetry in her journals, and is currently working on a memoir.

Germ Magazine guest author
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.