a poem for Gabe Grunewald
Every moment outside the clinic is transcendence,
cold steel and clear curved tubes alternating with warm
sun slanting through head-high cornfields, crunching gravel replacing
Pain, her currency, most wisely spent on
racing like an animal. Wasted on the hard plastic
tumor they attached to her body, the port, removed
with quiet whispers months ago: Un-responsive. Experimental Surgery.
phrases as remote from her as the sweep of Saturn’s moons.
Laces taut, she strides into the quiet shush of wind-swept fields, lungs burning with the familiar refrain:
I’m Alive. I’m Alive. I’m Alive.
On the track, starting gun raised, then (BAM)
limbs churning, fearless, scars proudly strewn across bare stomach,
signs of mysterious initiations few have known.
On the podium waving, watching mothers clap with
Rare Cancer Survivor, she’s called, a title she suspects with dark clarity is a category, like
She, He, It; convenient replacement for the thing itself.
She will in time become just another One Who Fought Bravely Till the End.
You are only a Survivor until you aren’t,
but you will always be