Not the absence of fear or despair, but the strength to conquer them: Courage”
Like those last lazy leaves
announcing autumn’s arrival
with an imposing voice of finality,
the last few strands of Michelle’s hair
land on the floor
of defiant acceptance
without a hint of defeat.  

A decorated veteran
of previous battles
in this consummate war,
that cancer is,
her eye patch, a badge of valour;
hair loss
collateral damage.  

Plucked chicken humor,
dapples her commentary
as she dons hats and wraps
covering up
this irrefutable feature of
a nemesis
worthy of contempt.  

Her words to me:
“I’m a survivor,
I’m not going to give up,
I’m a survivor,
I’ll keep on surviving”
remember us,
this too shall pass.  

Copyright © Henri Ferguson 2013 All Rights Reserved

Author Notes
Michelle’s hair has been gradually falling out since she had radiation and started chemo. In the past few days this process has accelerated so she has been wearing a hat around the house to keep warm and keep the hair from falling everywhere. Last night when she came to bed she removed her hat to reveal a completely bald head, and for the first time I saw the massive scar from her first battle with cancer that took a significant part of the right side of her face. What seems so incongruent to me is Michelle’s casual demeanor with all of this. She asked me: “Do you still love me without my hair?” I responded; “my love for you is so much deeper than a hair follicle” We both belly laughed and felt great to connect with humor in a healing way. 

Michelle is unfazed and more determined than ever to come out of her corner with her dukes up. I marvel at this woman, my Joan of Arc, this soldier with an indomitable spirit fighting the battle of her life; this too shall pass.