The news is met with great rejoicing
as it should be, yet the ringing exultations
come muffled. Was the danger ever truly felt?
Now the rush of deaths wings has apparently
passed by, there should be a stronger sense
of triumph. Relief, yes. Their shared happiness
helps, adds a note of celebration to the news,
and yet. The cure is attenuated. If cured,
should we not be done with taking medicine?
Yet the treatments drag on, the small jabs
and aches, the stripping down and twisting
this way and that on command, a thousand
small indignities. Not as upsetting to me
as to many, and yet, it would be better
to be done with them. There are days
when the presence of the port beneath
the skin of my chest, hard foreign presence,
the visible, palpable tube leading from it
to a beating vein, feels an intrusion
past bearing, and if nails were sharp enough,
one might be tempted to rip it out. One might
dream of that furious tearing. My nails
are soft, damaged, quick to break,
darkened still, though hands and feet finally
have returned to their accustomed hue.
The line of pale pink creeps slowly forward
along the nails, a promise of returning health
but damnably slow. It doesnt matter.
Only cosmetic, and yet. The scar of the port
is a thin fading line; the scar of lymph surgery
will soon be the same, but the breast oh.
Theres a gash, theres a jagged river cutting
canyons through remaining flesh. Shapely
enough in clothes disguise, but brace to stare
naked in the mirror at undeniable truth
this is ugly, this scar, this breast. They were
never picture perfect, but once, they were
pleasant enough to look upon, once, they
were photographed, but its too soon
to look at those photos again, to confront
what once was. It doesnt matter much.
Not compared to the greater losses, the
nipple that no longer works, nerves cut,
the eggs that have stopped releasing and
although we were done with them, and it is
a relief, practically speaking, still, a loss,
a loss. Worst of all, the hours gone. Should
be grateful that we didnt lose them all; friends have,
their time cut brutally short. Should rejoice.
Someday I shall. Now, the bells are muffled,
now the ongoing demands, the losses
roll over me in waves, and all I can do:
roll with them, waiting for the better day to come.