Refrain in Retrospect

Kristene Kaye Brown


You are at the Midwest Cancer Care Center
again, looping

a catheter tube into an infinity knot,
un-loop.  I am there

too, there in the fevered folds of that night-
sweat sheet, 

there in the morning when every muscle
becomes a lit

terminal, there at midnight when you ask
who will be there

to greet you as sister, daughter. In the end
the medicine will work. 

The nausea will subside. This much is true.

when you piss it will smell like chemicals,
your mouth metal. 

The orphaned beat of your heart will ring
in your ears 

for weeks. This is normal. Lay back down.
You already know

there are only two possible outcomes.
Either you will be fine

+++++++++++++or you won’t.

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.