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Paper Chain

writing group

I cleaned out my room today, getting rid of old clothes
most of which are too big for me now
as I’ve shrunk to a skeletal version of myself.
Gathering under my bed along with old chapsticks
and safety pins and crumpled receipts
were several hospital bracelets.

I’ve been saving them for over three years now,
hoping to make them mean something at the end of this-
a bracelet chain so I can count down the days
to the 5 year word:
or an art piece displaying the excessive usage of labels and
an ID number I’ll never forget: 612212
or proof for the future me that this really did happen
or a finish line I can break through–

I find them everywhere:
in drawers, coat pockets, the bottom of my purse and car
folded in my wallet
and under my bed
I have probably 200 of them

I plan to make something out of them eventually
I have a one-woman show in the works and I’ve been taking
copious notes of all the things that have happened
“ice bag boobs” after the highest fever my nurse had ever seen
“7 liters”: – my record-breaking peeing in a single day
“No, it wasn’t breast cancer, I just have really small boobs”
I don’t even need to explain that one.

There’s a lot of comedy, truly. And there’s a lot of white.
white room, white bandages
200 white stamps
200 white plastic wishes and fears
200+ white handfuls of foamed Purell

I plan to make something out of them
even if it is just a bonfire
to simultaneously burn away Cancer Girl
and offer up incense to the sky
Praise you stars, that I am still here
and I can still make things burn.

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