129: The Year I Had Cancer

129: The Year I Had Cancer

The Year I Had Cancer
by Brad Buchanan

one day we will all talk about it this way:
that was the month
when I started to wonder and decided to go to the doctor
when they were so sure it wasn’t lymphoma
          and the lumps first appeared on my stomach
when my blood counts were reexamined
          in light of the internet and anecdotes
when they wanted to study the architecture
          of the nodule they cored with their special gun
when I started perspiring and coughing
          and they admitted they might have been wrong
when the insurance would not go along
          and a second opinion had to be found
when I was proud to have something so rare
          and spouted my own misguided blood
when my left lung abandoned all functions
          and made the right one heave like a hero
when I went back in for more chemo
          and found it was easier next time through
when waiting was all anyone could do
          and I shaved off my beard and hair
when my body slowly sluiced away
          the poisonous residue of naïveté
when I got the transplant they called a cure
          and I picked life right back up again
          where I had left it the year before

"The Year I Had Cancer," from THE SCARS, ALIGNED by Brad Buchanan. Copyright © 2019 by Brad Buchanan. Used by permission of Finishing Line Press.

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