Red

Blast from the past FB memory of bc (before cancer) Joules. 11 years ago today. Probably cuz I’m in a strange space contemplating life & death and especially the life & death of my step-sister Shele, this old memory popping up this morning, led me down a road and I decided to follow it to see where it would take me. Curiously, serendipitously, it led me from this random day in March 11 years ago, to the random day that August the poem the picture inspired, to another random day that same August–precisely on August 23–when I was contemplating my own life and possible death and Shele got in a car, drove from Indy, and showed up to the prayer meeting we had at the Evanshire to kick off my cancer battle. I will never ever forget that. We didn’t know each other very well. We didn’t grow up together. We weren’t the Brady Bunch. We had a whole lifetime before we met and a few lifetimes after. We lived in the same city for a little while and that was lovely. She introduced me to Shania Twain on one of our girls nights out. I can never hear Shania and not think of her. I had a dream of seeing Shania in concert with Shele that will always be an unchecked box. Cuz the box on her calender at the end of the dash was checked off on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The box on my calendar for tomorrow is to get in the car, drive to Indy, & show up to celebrate her life. Which seems fitting, to me. Honoring to her, since that’s how she lived her life as far as I knew. She showed up. It’s really the least we can do. But it’s also everything, which I am reminded as I remember Shele and her fine art of showing up.
[While I was working on this little meditation and preface to my poem, I realized that Red is also the color for Stroke & Aneurysm Awareness. Sweet serendipity, circling back to my step-sister Shele, like a benediction. Rest in peace. Loved you like a sister.

Red

What was she thinking?
The writing was on the shirt
Red. Read it and weep.

Red means stop. Smell the
Roses NOW. Think on these things…
Capture this moment.

Take a snapshot. Write
A haiku about the girl
With long hair and curves.

Red flag hiding on
The billboard that chest would be
Come what may someday

Soon. Some random day
In August. As inciting
Incidents are wont

To do making much
Ado like they do. Outta
Nowhere. But leading

Somewhere. In my case
Aerodynamic. Cancer
Wasn’t on my mind.

Not on my radar.
I wasn’t 42 yet–
The proverbial

Answer to my life,
universe, everything me.
My left boob was red

Hot*. But not like the
Happy ending kind of hot
But goodbye girls kind.

Good riddance pound of
Flesh. I like you better off
My chest. The one thing

Is swimsuit shopping
In a curvy world. That girl
Didn’t have to think

Twice. This girl though
Whose cup overflows. Doesn’t
Translate to swimsuits.

*breast thermography is a non-traditional way to scan for breast cancer, and red basically means hot (cancer activity) areas on the scan. #nutshell

#marchmarchness #writeclub #haikuchallenge #haikuaday #haiku #poetry#becausetheworldneedsmorepoetry #red #breastcancer #cancer#mastectomy #swimsuitshopping #thestruggleisreal

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