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by Ann Gang

The train started down the tracks, slowly at first;
No one believed what the possibilities might be.

Can you come to the office; can you bring your husband?
Oh no, I said, I'm strong, he is too far to travel – how bad can it be

The train continued down the tracks beginning to gain speed.

I sat in the office and noticed my grandparents by the window.
As I started to ask them why they were here 
My head turned to an unfamiliar word

The train was coming faster and faster, choo choo, choooo choooo.
No one warned me that I was standing in the middle of the tracks.

Directions and definitions were given, 
perhaps my grandparents could hear them
I couldn't
the sound of the train whistle was deafening.

Options were mentioned but had no meaning,
The word ‘metastases' was Greek
I was still back at the reason for my grandparent's visit.

The sparks were flying from the wheels of the train as I felt the 
darkness closing in.

The doctor finished his speech although I was no longer there.
This was wrong, it was cruel, it wasn't me.
He checked the report and confirmed that it was so,
while the train was getting closer and closer.

I turned to my grandparents for comfort and solace, 
but they were gone.
Before I could realize what had happened, the bright light of the 
engine was upon me.  
My mouth dropped in fright and the tears began to flow as the train 
barreled across my soul.

Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. This poem was written during a healing retreat in Maine as a response to how she felt when she first heard the words, 'you have cancer'. "During that retreat, Sharon Bray released my inner voice from its dungeons when she guided my pen to paper." Excerpts from her writings appear in Sharon Bray's, When Words Heal.