At the cancer clinic

“She is being helped toward the open door
that leads to the examining rooms
by two young women I take to be her sisters.
Each bends to the weight of an arm
and steps with the straight, tough bearing
of courage. At what must seem to be
a great distance, a nurse holds the door,
smiling and calling encouragement.
How patient she is in the crisp white sails
of her clothes. The sick woman
peers from under her funny knit cap
to watch each foot swing scuffing forward
and take its turn under her weight.
There is no restlessness or impatience
or anger anywhere in sight. Grace
fills the clean mold of this moment
and all the shuffling magazines grow still.”

~ Ted Kooser

woman-dying-from-cancer copy

7 thoughts on “At the cancer clinic

    1. I have spent the last twelve years working in the largest comprehensive cancer center in the United States. This is a sight I see often. We offer hope and often a cure to this terrible disease. It is a very complex disease that does not discriminate as to who is impacted. This poignant poem is an insight to what it means to have the disease and what courage it takes to fight it. Thanks so much. Be well, Bill

      1. Bill, I am an 11 year breast cancer survivor so I related so personally with your poem. It is the kind nurses and staff like you who make the patient’s journey easier. That’s why I found it beautiful ~ due to the grace it showed for I remember being cared for that tenderly (and also having experiences when I wasn’t). I am so happy that you are there to help those patients. May I ask where you are? I wonder if we’ve ever met?

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