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Follow the Dots to the End

by Maureen Glaude

I'm haunted by
the echo of
an experience
I can't erase

no longer by
the immediate press
of cancer's claim
but by its ghosts
down within
the layers
of my new joy
always their death walk parade
rehearses noisily

its cast
began to form
even as I entered
my first respite periods
from the acute attack
and danger

each time
I emerged from
those corridors
of chemotherapy
and concern

finding some fragments of faith
somewhere that urged
stand up strong

Days when I gained from solitude
graduated from sleep's seizure
accomplished rising in the morning
astonishing my family and myself
after chronic resistance to anything but rest
spirit and body slowly starting over

to face the exhaustion of effort
or complete another stretch
in the series of therapies

Was that some other person ago?

Was I truly
one of those godforsaken-seeming souls
I see when I go back for follow-up
and take home with me in prayer?

I storm about, energetic now
not qualified for over-proud
nor smug
on my way to the X-ray room
or doctor's clinic
then realize why
professionals show surprise
they're used to seeing patients
including my former self
smitten into slow motion
unsteadiness, frailty of low blood

then I remember
how huge a feat it was
to achieve a simple destination
following those colored dots
painted on the hospital floors
for direction
or wait to be examined
weary even in a wheelchair
once the cycles of chemicals
had polluted me with necessary poison

but now I've reached the stage
where my calendar is
not perpetually pockmarked
with appointments anymore
the terror and the grief
tucked away in journals
cards and letters
and some retreat in the mind
even it a fighter
reclaiming concentration
memory and focus skills
after the fog

but beneath the layers
of the luxury of life
lurks the backstory
that was mine
but not just mine

with its ghost characters
reminders of the omen
to ensure
I never take health
for granted

more than all of this
what haunts me
is the faces of the others
still weaving their weary ways
along the treadmill of terror
like prisoners in a Nazi camp
from which I've found escape
but promised to come back
for the others


Posted on 01/26/2004
Copyright © 2021 Maureen Glaude

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 01/26/04 at 02:11 PM

Riveting read. I said prayers yesterday morning for all those close to me, both spiritually and physically, and also for those a little further away.

Posted by Kate Demeree on 01/28/04 at 01:00 PM

WOW... Maureen the courage and determination and loving woman shines through in this wonderful poem. Well Done!

Posted by Charles E Minshall on 01/28/04 at 09:33 PM

Thanks for sharing this MO. My prayers are with you. We have some good friends that are going through this. It is not a fun time...Charlie

Posted by Jean Mollett on 01/28/04 at 11:26 PM

Hi Maureen, It's beautiful, yet so sad, full of emtions. Yet it has turn about to wonderful for you. Don't give up gal, keep fighting it. My prayers are with you. My best friend's husband, sorry to say. he lost the battle of Colon cancer, last year. He's dearly mssed. My heart goes out to you & your family. Lots of Hugs.

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