The following are part of a poem titled "Ward 42." Each individual section tries to capture a particular emotion that I related to my experience in the cancer ward during chemotherapy. Thematically, I use the sea and weather throughout the poem to act as an ordering mechanism. Some of the sections seem to contradict each other, especially concerning the I.V. pump that delivers the combination of drugs that is at the same time destroying and rescuing the body.
excerpts from "Ward 42"
I lie on my side,
my body frames the hook of a bay,
when I ask of the future
they reply only with the rise
and fall of the diagnosis’s
The white bed is a cradle,
the swish of the pump
a mother’s heartbeat.
I awaken with my knees pulled up
my thumb in my mouth.
In his white coat, the doctor
like gulls, the interns stand watching.
These are three of the eleven sections. I tried to create stanzas that were vivid, visual, and could stand alone. I tried to keep the tight focus similar to that of a haiku (although these are clearly not haiku.) I also found that I used a lot of metaphorical language, perhaps because there are few words for discussing how chemotherapy "feels" vs. the technical language for what it does.
Thanks for the conversation A.D.!