I. Bone Marrow Biopsy
hands gently stroke my arm
the delicate touch, the extra soft touch
can only mean the pain will
be that much harder to bear
hands on either side
gentle, gentle. . .
the needle makes its descent
searing fucking pain
II. Chemo and Remission
The heat that hairless summer, child,
I was damn near close to death -
breathe in, barely a breath out;
salty rivulets slinking across my pate,
as I struggled to make that hill.
Chemically driven, almost unnaturally still,
I could sit for hours upon hours at a time,
occasionally wondering if I would see any
of this again in the coming year,
too lethargic to care enough to cry.
The slight breeze might pass over me,
and if I felt it, it didn't register any change.
Mosquitoes stayed clear, perhaps possessing
some fear of the poisons that lie beneath my skin.
The irony of remission
is the celebration around you
when you feel mostly dead.
They tell you that you beat it,
when, really, you just feel beaten down.
'that pain in your back,
it's not what you think'
and since I wasn't really
thinking much of anything
other than what the hell
did I do to it,
I simply said, 'yeah.'
When you've had any
great illness, had anything
more than slightly serious
they always assume
it's in the back of your mind,
like you've already set a place
and are thinking there will
be a guest for dinner.
And I wasn't.
Although, like a friend
that's moved far away who
took all your attention while
they were here – you might be
a bit richer for the experience
but in no hurry to repeat it and
certainly don't anticipate their
subtle move back to town.
I've been there,
and yeah, I could do it again –
harder and stronger, ready to face
whatever comes this way,
but I'm not laying out the mat
or cooking dinner.
Hell, my good plates
have long been packed away.
You show up at my door
you'll get fast food
on paper plates and like it
and soon be on your way.