All This Chemo Is Making My Brain So Bright

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Death, I notice, often comes

with a smile and a kiss,

a tender tuck of blanket into legs,

 

a pull to the shoulders

making shroud complete,

a tender whispered secret.

 

“Good bye” or “Good life”,

it might be saying.

But so does love.

 

2

 

The  light of the cancer center

is so clean, clear and bright

that it makes me squint

 

pondering whether the jovial trucker

with the Tennessee drawl

and the St Nicholas beard and physique,

 

on his fifth dance with the Big C,

that started in his eye

and remission to his liver,

 

is a harbinger or heavenly host,

a glint from the gaze of God

or the last secret whisper of love.

 

3

 

When he is awol the next week

I assign him to the casualty list

knowing that I am the lucky survivor.

 

I am the thick among the thins

and he is the blessing angel

destined to return to the Lord.

 

I live with the ambivalence,

the hope and the guilt,

looking for dancers among the blasted.

 

4

 

I refuse to name my cancer

not granting it control

or even the idea of breath.

 

The drugs, however, that’s different.

Oxaliplatin is oxygen.

Leucovorin is lungs.

 

They pour into my port

and in the liquid air

I learn to breathe again.

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