For the first time in two weeks,

I wake up feeling strong. Rested,

with muscles that want to push

themselves out of bed, stretch

to their full extension. Today,

I will work in the garden. Pull

dandelion and dayflower weeds,

dig burdock, down to the stubborn

taproot. I’ll spread clear plastic

and weight it down with bricks,

setting the sun to work, solarizing

the weeds beneath. Six weeks

will ready it for fall planting, for

spinach and chard, lettuce and kale.


Tomorrow is chemo. Six weeks

to go. Tomorrow will set a fire

that will burn through my body,

building to exhaustion, so I wake

only to close my eyes and sleep

again. Cancer is a field of weeds,

and while the battle rages, the

battleground takes a battering.


Six weeks is a long time for ground

to lie unused. All around, other beds

throw off rich harvests. Tomatoes

ripen, peppers bud, the peach tree

has grown heavy with fuzzy fruit.


Still, have faith. This bed will come

to its time again. And maybe, in

some strange ways we cannot yet

predict, will be richer, stronger,

for the long fallow stretch. By fall,

we will be ready to plant again.

Spinach and chard, lettuce and kale.