The doctor practically danced into the room
as he handed us a comparative printout of my brain,
one MRI taken in September in which a whitish/grayish blob is visible,
and today’s with no white spot at all, a uniform hue.
He said the Avastin seems to be working…
and whatever else you’re doing, keep doing it.
Shall I tell him about the pipe ceremonies?
turkey tail mushroom extract? Shamanic healing?
How much of this clear scan has nothing to do with chemicals
but has everything to do with Henry’s love; art and writing;
prayers from friends and family; luck; fate;
the final grace of my sister who died the week before?
Now it’s a week later and the floating high is long gone.
My local doctor seemed to take the clear scan as license
to pile on more tests, predictions, and a port.
When I asked her how long do I have to stay on Avastin,
she said “the rest of your life… Or until the cancer comes back.”
She seemed not to notice the thick glaze of overwhelm
coating my spirit, dragging me under.
And what a week it’s been, a cesspool spewing poison and hate,
blood and shit and gunshot and mayhem desecrating the Capital,
legislators hiding under their desks or fleeing for safe rooms
like our nation’s children practicing for an active shooter scenario,
or like Henry and I did back in the 60s during bomb drills,
as if cowering under our desks would have helped us survive a nuclear blast.
So now what? What do I do when I want to hide
in the dark room of depression and doubt?
What does our nation do as we teeter on the brink of fascism,
martial law, dictatorship, the endless gang rape of Nature,
and whatever other monstrous goals the monsters connive?
Do we allow ourselves to burrow under the numbing weight
of passivity, fear, helplessness and hibernate through this travesty?
Or do we throw off the heavy sticky covers, rouse ourselves up,
remember the mantra I’ve often used to ward off my demons:
“if in doubt, go to work.”