by Michele Wahlder
I would tell you what is alive in me.
My life blooms beyond this veil of cancer you see me through.
It’s in the fragrance of frankincense warmed on my hands
as sun dances through golden morning shades,
in peach peonies sent in a surprise bouquet.
English toffee and hot steam from my creamed coffee.
The smell of my dog Mercy’s musty body breathing next to me.
In the familiar scent of my husband when we embrace.
His arms warm, wide, masculine.
Standing with the chief of radiation, his fists pump the air
in fervor for my life. His bright eyes meet the truth of me.
It’s in the fresh water of my pool as I pull through cool aqua delight.
In steady rhythms of ocean waves—
they buoy me, weightless, pain free.
Planted in the spring, orange and yellow cosmos
now grown taller than me.
Their blossoms sway with a breeze
on reedy stems that bend but don’t break.
Mercy’s little feet—run, rush, and jump
towards me while yelping with excitement.
I pretend to grasp them—our little morning joy
makes me giggle every time.
Her cold, wet, charcoal nose burrows into me.
She places her chin on my thigh.
A marriage of love and appreciation.
Our intimate ritual of dinner side by side,
hands held, laughter, bookending our day.
It’s in silence of early dawn,
the quiet company of another, just as I am,
absent of advice and the constant parade of shoulds.
Comforting low voices, space in between words
that allow me to breathe, slow the pace of our connection.
Angels sing to me in this stillness.
My life is enough.
Michele Wahlder is living with metastatic breast cancer, a life coach, and writer from Dallas, TX. Her first collection of poetry, Walking by Starlight: A Healing Journey Through Cancer was published in 2018 by Life Possibilities, LLC.