Approaching a New Year

Friends look at me and smile
“I love your hair” this way (gone)
“you look great”
“I still feel your spirit shining through”
I have become more accustomed to not having hair
To wearing hats and bright scarves wrapped stylishly around my round head
Or not.
When I’m around the beings who love me, I can bare my head and heart
No matter the costume

It is when I walk down the street
Walk into a restaurant or shop
When women look at me with a strange and knowing look:
“oh, she has cancer, I should smile at her”
“Oh, poor thing, I wonder what is wrong with her”
I feel their thoughts through their smiles
Just as I have done the same
Assuming the women with hats and turbans whom I pass on the street
are the ones with the dis-ease
we all dread
the one we don’t want uttered by the doctor across the room
or the voice on the phone, saying
“you have a suspicious mass”

People send notes, cards, flowers
To brighten my days, remind me of their caring hearts
Apologize for wrongs done in the past
Before I die

That is how it feels sometimes
Everyone is afraid that I’m going to die but very few want to admit that
There are days, moments, when I am afraid too
And I won’t admit it either

Because mostly I believe I will survive this for quite a while
Although the visceral lessons of impermanence have sunk in deeply in these last months
I go to a new year’s party and dance
to old favorites and shout and carry on and rejoice:
“the wires got crossed, The tables got turned,
never knew I had such a lesson to learn…
I’m feeling good from my bald head to my shoes
Know where I’m going and I know what to do
I’m tightening up my point of view
I got a new attitude”
Toward cancer
Toward my body
Toward outward appearances and inward longings
Toward each moment
Toward each day
Toward a NEW YEAR
And how different LIFE
As I have known it
Will be

Personal Journey, Twist of Fate