This is the way life changes.
The time takes as long as any other time
but it seems so much heavier
breath feels so thick
eyes so wide.
Then, just before the doctor speaks
the clean walls vanish
the soft pictures with them
leaving the three of you
floating in empty space


In this place of uncertainty
there is neither life nor death
just us

in fog this thick
even my beacon becomes blurry
showing no way.
I relax into the moment
nuzzling up to your warmth
like a baby.

Life is over for now
and I don’t know what this is called
but we’ll make the most of it
until life returns.


The word hits like a baseball bat.
When the doctor says cure
I hear death
when he says treatment
I hear torture.

Still, his words register somewhere.


Like Osama on a bender
the ovary wreaks vengeance
wobbling furiously out of control
assaulting adjacent territory.
Internal security sounds an alarm.
Doctors with borders stop the attacks
but the damage is severe,
recovery slow.
The anguish of a refugee
on the face of my love
is a cruel sight
but we join with our allies
and fight on.


Her skin tastes different.
It has lost its sweetness.

We hug cautiously
her body not yet used
to being incomplete
not healed.

Her hair cut short
she is a different woman
more somber.
She doesn’t joke as much.

Passion is exiled
although the pilot lights still burn.

How can it be
that I feel such love
for this stranger?


It’s just fuzz, I tell her
but it’s more fuzz.
You can see it’s more than yesterday.
You’re an optimist, she says.
Maybe, but I swear I see it,
hair beginning to win its struggle
to return from the edge of death.

Leslie Gerber 2003

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