“Chemothera-Putrid”

WhiteRockbyMom

It’s not like in the movies

Composed of questions, quests

Dramatic bald heads nodding, bobbing, suffering

Projectile vomit and finite deadlines.

It’s quieter, wispier, more uncertain

Like those dirty flakes we once called hair

You finally shaved off slightly.

It’s sore palms and painfully cracked skin

It’s gaining weight when the steroids do you in

It’s quality of life, and it’s chemo

When venom in your veins is better

Than your own cells.

It’s watching you melt like a candle

As the poison slowly fills you intravenously

Feeling the dread and the gorge rising

When I exit like a coward because that’s not really you

It can’t be.

It’s jokes about stool and all the colors and consistencies

We could apply to oil pastels,

But this is not art

And on good days it feels like we’re faking it all

And bad days are hell, but we smile.

When I hear you cough my mind jumps to your funeral

And health class reminds me of the day you will die.

Thera-putrid are those days when your door is closed

And you sleep the hours away, and it’s almost escape

And I’m grateful for how much you hide from me

But even forgetting makes me ache.

Written September 2015, Emma Dumitra.
Photo Credit: Nana Dumitra.

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One thought on ““Chemothera-Putrid”

  1. Faith Richardson says:

    This is … powerful. Soul-truth. I want to say, ‘thank you for your service’ like we do for soldiers, because it is war you and your mom endured, and somewhere, buried in the hard memories triggered like M16s you are releasing diamonds.

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