The Dragon

 The Dragon

by Jack Henslee

He first appeared in my youth
silently probing,  looking for a weakness.
The attack was silent and caused little pain or concern,
  just some hoarseness in a voice that grew steadily weaker.
But the battle had started, between me and the Dragon.

The prognosis was good,a small cancer on a vocal chord.
Once removed, everything would be fine.
The fears passed, victory was mine.
I was invincible, could do as I pleased,
  smoke, drink, lots of bragging.
For it was  proven, I could beat the Dragon.

Nine years later I awoke in a sweat,
  gasping for air that wouldn’t come.
The Dragon had returned in a rage
  to destroy the fool that mocked him.
The struggle was fierce,
 and my voice was lost in the fight for life.
I had a hole in my neck for life giving air,
  tempered with the knowledge to forever beware.

The price was steep,  but again I survived.
Seven more years I lived with caution,
sighing with relief after five had passed.
But the Dragon still lurked,
  patient that my resolve wouldn’t last.

On a cold winter’s night  he came with renewed fury,
 driven and determined to win.
The charge was met with steel, ions and hope;
  once again he was driven back
  but each time he takes a little more.

Time lessens the memory,  eases most of the pain.
But the battles take their toll  and scars still remain.
  A reminder that tomorrow  is a precious gift.
The Dragon won’t die, he never really leaves.
But he can be defeated, driven from the field.
As long as you never give up,  or lay down your shield.