Chemo Cycle Blues, Part II

Author: John Smelcer, PhD, CAGS
Last Reviewed: December 20, 2022

I was brushing my teeth this morning
when I looked up after spitting.

There in the mirror was a bald man
holding a toothbrush, his eyes
full of bewilderment and incredulity,

his face pallid and gaunt,
his eyes deeply sunken, his beard and hair gone.

I leaned closer to the glass to better glimpse
the stranger holding my toothbrush.


About the author: In the fall of 2022, Dr. John Smelcer was diagnosed with stage 2 B-cell, non-specified, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a metastatic cancer of the lymphatic system. He is currently undergoing hospitalization cycles of chemo and immuno-therapy. John Smelcer is the author of 60 books, including a dozen books of poetry. His most recent collection is Raven. For a quarter century, he was Poetry Editor at Rosebud Magazine, where he currently serves as Senior Editor Emeritus. From 2016-2020, he was the Inaugural Writer-in-Residence for the Charter for Compassion, the world’s largest compassion movement with over five million members in 45 countries.

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