04 February 2015

Not Beyond Us




Myosotis sylvatica (wood forget-me-not)


skin cells berserk, pale blotch of pink and red
fast growing weeds to pluck from garden beds

the crab is crawling, humming cancer can-
cer-tainly hold tight, will not say goodnight

she is born under the sign of the crab—
cancer—walking sideways, telling truth slant

body pieces discarded coast to coast and
biopsy cutouts in bottles of she

stomach slice in Philadelphia
hysterectomy in San Francisco

sun skin sun skin sun skin sun skin sun skin
closest star and biggest organ dancing

skin cells berserk, pale blotch of pink and red,
fast growing beauty marks on tissue fed

cancer cells angry, raised, fuzzy dark with
swiftly growing storm clouds growling in sky

in the darkest hour, people find and friend 
her, bring food and tea, wash her feet, their hands






Note that Hippocrates named the disease "cancer" 
which is the Greek word for "crab." 


Copyright © 2015 S.L.Chast




20 comments:

Sreeja said...

Excellent and powerful........!!

Wolfsrosebud said...

felt the clutch of this... slowly strangling

Gail said...

Well said and so deeply sad

Anonymous said...

Everything everyone else has said and so much more. Excellent.

Kay L. Davies said...

Awesome write, Susan.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I felt the scritching progress of the crab-cancer. This poem has enormous impact. Cancer is everywhere now. I am glad, at the darkest hour, people came to friend and tend her. Those are the beautiful hours of that illness. There are so many compassionate tenders out there. Thank heavens!

Brian Miller said...

my father has gone over 100 skin cancer surgeries at this point...never considered it as a kid out there on the rings at the pool...he looks like he has been through a cheese grater when he takes off his shirt....I like how you mixed in the astrological sign as well susan...

Brother Ollie said...

I know someone who hate their zodiac sign...cancer.

you approached the subject with grace.

Unknown said...

we need more crab and less cancer cells

Jae Rose said...

I love the line she is born under the sign of the crab...even if you move sideways there are some things you can't side step...also the flowers and the unseen growth...so simple..cell mutation..over growth..but so devastating..a person with tea and care certainly eases the load

Old Egg said...

Cancer however makes it worse by taking away dignity; as well of course do other diseases. If by lucky chance cures are found for the many cancers will we still have an uncanny knack for still crowding out the hospitals by our lifestyle choices.

Unknown said...

It's beautifully done, tragic yet beautiful...

Myrna R. said...

Very powerul write. Your poem is ugly and frightening as it should be. Your talent though is beautiful.

Mary said...

You have characterized cancer cells well. Hard to read (gulp), but you expressed reality as it is!

Truedessa said...

Under the sign of cancer struggling for survival. A wonderfully written dark poem.

Anonymous said...

I felt the pulling apart in this sad poem. Well done.

rallentanda said...

Hideous disease that has touched us all in one way or another...and still no cure !

annell4 said...

Oh my, and the crab comes from the sea, and maybe so do we...perhaps it comes as a helper after all, only dressed as a crab.

Unknown said...

Born under the sign of the crab... this ties it all together. So well done, Susan.

Gen Giggles said...

Wonderful tie-in with Cancer. Great expression of the caring and trips needed for the medical work.