29. There’s Sunshine Ahead

As I drive to Mom’s chemo appointment, I’m mad

as hell that she’s still taking it

 

I park in the garage, climb the stairs

to the infusion room at the top of the building

 

Mom’s voice guides me to her chair (one of 50).

Her face has aged 10 years in three weeks,

 

like she’s been in the sun too long.

She settles herself right in the middle of everything

 

spreading sunshine in January.

She beams when she sees me.

 

All the staff want a chance to revolve around her today.

A 20-something woman hugs Mom and offers to bake her

 

marijuana-laced brownies. Mom politely

declines. A former patient comes by

 

“just to visit,” to

tan herself in Mom’s rays.

 

Mom chats up the ladies hooked up next to her.

When they hear her history of 28 years

 

with this doctor, with this disease,

their eyes widen like they just saw the light.

 

My rage crumples under her warmth. I fetch

ice chips that melt instantly in her hot little mouth.

 

I tuck her in with a yellow crocheted blanket,

a gift from a friend who wanted to wrap Mom in sunshine.

 

Mom is sunshine.

When she finishes the day’s treatment,

 

we exit and the entire room is thrown off-kilter

as if its very sun were swept away

 

leaving behind only winter

and cancer.