Cancer in Spring

Paula Moore illuminates the cancer experience with a powerful metaphor of a raspberry patch infested by weeds.
April 2018 Vol 4 No 2
Paula Moore
Pueblo, Colorado
Diagnosed with stage IV uterine cancer in 2016
Kneeling in the raspberry patch
As March turns the corner
So windy and dry
Wondering when the roots will decide
It’s time to rise.

Up through the mulch come instead
The crabgrass blades
So strong and straight and on a mission.
Obeying their genes
To dominate above and below.

Who knows when their weed seeds arrived
Foreign to this soil, this climate.
Not enough water to keep them alive
Until we planted the raspberries.

Now their rhizomes grow year after year
And can’t all be excised
Without hurting the fruit,
Much as I try by tugging on the runners
Tingling chemo fingers fumbling to keep hold.

Their destinies intertwine before me—
crabgrass with raspberries.
Still I continue my earnest cultivation—
Yanking and mulching, watering and composting
To make the raspberries strong
Until they’re tall enough to shade out the grass
And flourish on their own.

As I turn my efforts down the row,
I notice that a smile has unexpectedly arrived.
For beneath the leaves and twigs
And dust from a long, dry winter
I spot the first raspberry leaves,
Their lime-green aliveness
A promise of fruit over famine;
Assurance of a soul that overcomes.

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Last modified: June 2, 2020

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