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by Meg Osborne

Inspiration image

OK, they took a knife to me to get rid of it …
True, the girls are no longer twins
And, yes, they pumped me full of poison
red and glistening as a candy apple.

And then …
I became hairless, pink and freakish
like the newborn rabbits
I once found under a clump of
Forget-me-nots in spring.
Four months later I’m done.
Where’s my frigging balloon bouquet?

At church a man says, “You must wake up every morning
and just PINCH yourself!”
Well, I want to pinch HIM or at least clip his head with my purse.

In truth I open my eyes every morning and
pull the pillow over my face, willing daylight away.
I think of Dorothy Parker and the fresh hells just beyond my sight,
unable to duck the bull’s-eye only I can see.

The body spots it first, luck,
and pockets it like a winning lottery ticket.
It goes about its business, humming softly.

Sutures close
blood counts rise and
hair returns in a crazy, optimistic puff.

Heart and soul, however, stay in the lifeboat
‘til moments of NOW coax them out of the fog.
The dry warm anchor of my husband’s hand pulls me ashore
where my daughter sings to herself and collects sea glass.

Now is all I get;
all anyone gets.
I get it now.
I am lucky.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Meg Osborne is a three-year breast cancer survivor living in Skaneateles, NY.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2011.