I first saw cancer
I first saw cancer in winter, rocking gently
as if to mollify a small child by keening
a lullaby. She murmured a promise,
a truss of blossoms.
After a chill, in the thaw of spring,
wisps of hair returned, a limp corkscrew crown,
while pain cracked open bones and shred
them into lacy stalks.
Cancer rocked gently again in autumn, smothering
the lumpish soil with a thin coat of saltpeter.
And when it dried out like a codfish on the shore,
she offered her caress.
Risa Denenberg is an aging hippy currently living in Tacoma, Washington. She earns her keep as a nurse practitioner and has worked in end-of-life care for many years. Recent poems have appeared online at Soundzine, Umbrella, Sein und Werden, This, and Touch: a Journal of Healing. You can find her at her blog, here.