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A Chemo Visit

by Carol Smallwood

In the chemo room it's impossible 
to tell if the doors are opening or 
closing in a hall that did not echo.
The big wrinkled chairs were elephant 
tan; big yellow containers shouted,
Biohazard Warning. 
A woman entered and swallowed by 
an elephant chair stared at the TV, 
till shouting, "None of them say
they're the father of her baby." 
A dozing man with Christopher Reeves 
profile flung his hands as if flying 
and woke with a start and crooked cap.
Perhaps it is better to sleep or watch 
TV than listen to doors in a hall that
did not echo. 

This poem appeared in Hospital Drive, Fall 2012

Between Rocks

Between Rocks

Waiting for a stoplight I saw: For Weed Control Call Today  
and remembered hanging clothes over porch rails to dry:
the long stem daisies, the Queen Anne's Lace beginning in May,  
catnip flourishing between rocks that made Minnie play.
Some leaves the size of paddles topped with flower displays
flourished as if determined to reach the sky
contrasted with low thistles keeping grass at bay
while the occasional dragon fly and white moth passed by.
Growing through boards on the steps was a stray
branch of something wild with a look very spry:
I'd cut back its parent crowding the rails saying it was okay 
and was amazed it'd found a path--but could guess why.
Breast cancer encourages desire for life to have its way,
seek things that strive to live and be glad when weeds defy,
rejoice at growth between rocks each day
sights that amaze, give will not to die.
Seek things that want to live, be glad when weeds defy:
the long stem daisies, the Queen Anne's Lace beginning in May,  
sights that delight, give will not to die.
Waiting for a stop light I saw: For Weed Control Call Today.  

This poem appeared in Barefoot Review, Winter 2012 and in The Criterion, March 2013.

Carol Smallwood co-edited Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching, which is on the list of Best Books for Writers by Poets & Writers Magazine. Her library experience includes school, public, academic, special, as well as administration and being a consultant. Bringing the Arts into the Library (2014) is her sixth edited book for the American Library Association. The poems are based on breast cancer treatment. Carol has founded and supports humane societies.