Pagosa Springs Artists

During Chemo (version I)


I bear all that jazz like Love Supreme
bearing John Coltrane
in pierced flesh and spilled blood,
the treatment's dissonant chords
trotting my throat,
diving up and down
a stomach heaving
with discord.

A roll of staccato reply
pounds in my brain,
throbbing the sound
of pure misery.
Salvation history.

Antiseptic light
with grey dispair,
a crash of cymbols
blurring colors of the room,
perverse womb of my only hope.

Saxophone calls out repeatedly,
wails the burning pain,
my fortitude
stepping up and down,
faint with uncertainty.

Plucks at me
like nurses
trying to revive
some spirit,
their with offers of ice chips
as I'm stretched to the limit.

Blare of clarinet
finally frees me
from pain's tyranny.
A knock at the door
becomes a visitor
tickling ivory hopes,
banishing my ebony fears,
a run of heaven-sent
distraction during
the dissonant dance
of living through chemical death.


first published in Poetry of the Spirit Anthology

also published in Plainsongs Journal

also published in PICTURE HEALING Chapbook

©2009 Bonnie Manion


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