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Knitting in the Chemo Room

by Felicia Mitchell

On my lap, purple yarn and plastic tubes:
a tangled web of medicine,
the cord for my headphones,
knitting as necessary as Herceptin,
Taxotere, carboplatin, sodium chloride.

Inspiration image

Inside my head, antique music boxes play,
their melodies innocent of the detritus of cancer.
I listen to every note, each time I sit,
imagine myself inside a box, this music box,
wheels turning steel into brainwaves
I call infusion too.

My hands are sometimes still,
my feet on the recliner moving with a beat.

Most times, I hold onto knitting needles
that are nothing like the small needles that stick me,
their filament growing in my hands
instead of in a network of veins.
Chemotherapy pushes in, wool pulls out,
and the dancing girl inside my head
keeps spinning to music composed by people
who died before I was born.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Felicia Mitchell is a poet and breast cancer survivor who teaches at Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, September/October 2011.