Day After Chemotherapy: Waking Up

Kristene Kaye Brown


The coils in my bed
might have something to say
about the usefulness
of human touch, spiral hugging
spiral. Not everything
is made to bounce back
with such efficiency. I have
already outlived
my expiration date, the same
cannot be said for the pillow
top mattress, a soft allusion
to needle out the knots.
Whoever owned this house
before me
scraped the popcorn off
the ceiling. Thank you.
I will carry on
where you left off. I will
paint the water marks someday,
but not today.
The air in-between
this hour and the next
can only hold so much.
There is no cure for time.
No pardon,
minute to minute.
Mostly, I am here,
useless but alive, listening
to my breathe circle and pool,
while the sky above
makes decisions.
Inside, my heart is all moon.
there is a sawed-up night,
but there is also a sunrise,
a bloom of morning-
glories and daisies, buried
inside a desperate red
unraveling. It is so very nice,
this view.
Believe me when I say
it’s beautiful.
This hurt. This day. This light.

Return to Fall 2018 Volume 10.1




KRISTENE KAYE BROWN is a mental health social worker. She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has previously been published, or is forthcoming, in DIAGRAM, Columbia Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, Meridian, Nashville Review, and others. Kristene lives and works in Kansas City.