Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mary O'Connor: "Good Days"

each glorious third week after Adriamycin

Low light before sunrise, distant birdsong, smell of damp earth.
Under the quilt in the laze of limbs morning-slack,
a long slow waking, and comfort in the bed.


The head in order observes thoughts budding, branching,
lights flares, solves puzzles, constructs a theme. Happiness
just to have the words coming, the words in order.


Color grows with light: sky, moving clouds, tulips, new leaves,
and this blackberry, its perfect globules closefitting spheres
of dark juicy purples.


On my walk a stand of reeds caught by the slanting light,
back home tears let down simply as rain on the coarse yellow cloth
where my bread and apples wait.


Neighbors, mail, and visitors, the heft of a squirmy baby
healthy as a trout. His organized joynts, his azure veins.
Later, sweet light shrieks of kids on a trampoline.


Inner movements: to be stirred, to know a capacity for ecstasy, to harbor
an obsession that lights me up like a lamp, or a passion for a cause,
a book, music, the life of the spirit.


What I don’t know not besting me
what I don’t know for sure not worrying me
what I’ll never know in the hands of God.


That something lost with cancer treatment?
It was really something. Here. It’s back.

"Good Days" by Mary O'Connor, RSM. Published here by poet submission. © Mary O'Connor.

Art credit: Untitled image by unknown photographer (originally color). Caption: "Karen slowly injects the Adriamycin into the IV. It takes several minutes to inject."

Curator's note: In her submission the poet wrote, "On the good days during the chemo cycle, life wasn’t just good, it shone! Everything stood out in [high definition]. I remember the first time I got glasses when I was 13 and had been short-sighted for years, the way things just came into focus. Amazing. It was like that."


  1. I actually hyperventilated reading this poem. Utterly amazing.

  2. I hadn't caught the significance of the medication reference at the top so the ending really landed hard. This is such a reminder that everyday things are wonderful things we would miss if we didn't have them. Beautiful.


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