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Black With Miraculous Light

by Barbara Benoit

When I was in cancer
I was a star, my life up in lights.
Everything mattered,
I could see things.
I took over God's role, an understudy.
Everything I uttered was a poem.
I was a traffic accident.
A state of emergency
body thrust backwards, dead or alive, posing
for vital rescue men, young with fresh juices,
hard muscles to lift me, an angel in human suffering.
Cancer - what a show stopper.
It bowed to me,
lowered me to a golden chair, carried me in a chariot.
A ride on the Ferris wheel stopped at the top,
the night black with miraculous light
eternal stars and me looking down.
The exhilaration of cancer, that cloud
that no one really knows
is ever over
in masks, hidden from the outside.
Full orgasmic despair.
Who would think light, lighted life
could be folded up in there
in such darkness
there could be marching
a band's cymbals, a loud drum?
Who would think that ugly beauty
could face out in all directions from a consuming hole?
Now I forget,
think I'm immune to death
take over meetings with my insistent manic edge.
I sin, I am trivial.
God is no longer up nights, thinking about me.

Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was studying for an MFA in Poetry at New England College in 2007. She wrote this poem six months after chemo and radiation. Her writing has appeared in several journals including Cimarron Review, Shenandoah, and 5 AM. She is currently studying for a second MFA at Ashland University. Barbara's chapbook, Waiting for the Thoroughness of Winter, will be published by Finishing Line in May, 2013.