Soup, I thought, after the colonoscopy
when they said your colon
was blocked by a tumor.
A pot of my lentil soup,
our staple meal through the Canadian
winters of your childhood.
In the hospital, after the devastating
diagnosis of stage four cancer,
the doctors didn’t use the word cure—
you did. Before the first of your four
surgeries, and the bi-weekly
chemo appointments, you said:
I’m an ND. I know what to do,
what herbs to take along with the chemo.
I’ll be a miracle written up in books.
But tumors don’t care about miracles,
or forty-year-old Naturopaths
with two children under five.
After fifteen months of treatments
the oncologist looked at your PET scan:
The chemo didn’t work. Sorry.
That night you told me you’d always
hated my soup. Though your words
stung, I didn’t comment, didn’t need
the last word. Because I love you,
I understood your pain and frustration,
and knew you wouldn’t give up and go home
to die. You increased your daily supplements,
gave yourself mistletoe injections, had acupuncture,
and something called nebulized DCA treatments.
Two months later you wrote on Facebook:
Send me your woo. In pain twenty-four/seven,
barely able to stand. If anyone tells me I’m strong
I might show my strength by punching them.
Aching to connect with you, Dad and I chose
comfort in the pottery bowls you made
when you were ten. We hadn’t used them
in years. I sent you a text:
We’re eating soup in your bowls.
Mine has pink hearts.
You replied. Immediately.
I miss eating.
That was your last message to me.
You died the next day.
was born in South Africa and now lives in Los Angeles. She loves hiking and shares her fascination for the natural world by leading school children on hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains. Her poetry has been published in Blue Heron Review, Contrary Magazine, MacQueen’s Quinterly, ONE ART, Verse-Virtual, and Writing in a Woman’s Voice.
⚡ The tree which moves some to tears of joy,
is in the eyes of others only a green thing by Roseanne Freed in Issue 14 of MacQ (August 2022).