Winter

Marloe Esch WalkingI shaved my head
because I did not want
to wait for the moment
when my absentminded fingers
tucked a lock behind an ear
and came back
with strands in hand,
falling to the floor.

Now it is October,
and I walk in the crisp of each
afternoon, noticing that the trees, too,
are losing their tresses.
Balding branches shiver
and bow, dropping golden leaves
to the ground.

I see myself in these trees.
    How straight they stand!
    How bare!
Their limbs arc
into the sapphire of the sky,
stretching toward the warmth
of the wilting
sun.

Winter is coming
and I will endure the scheduled
storms of chemo
    with homemade crocheted hats,
    with hibernation tactics.
And these trees
will weather the weight
of this bitter season's breath
nakedly,
stark and silent
under snow.

But

Eventually,
as with every winter before,
the promise of spring will slip
into each morning.

The bright of the days will last longer,
the glow of the sun will rouse
slumbering branches,
and under the skin of their scalps
swollen buds will burst. New leaves
will unfold, open their eyes
and blink into
the light.

And I will,
too.


Share Your Thoughts

Do you see "seasons" in your cancer diagnosis? Can you relate to Marloe's words? Share your comments below.

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About the Author

Marloe's passion for women's health and wellness has intensified with her recent diagnosis of breast cancer, at age 29. Despite her professional experience in oncology, traveling through the cancer world was mystifying and lonely. Finally on the upswing of her treatment, she is continually looking for ways to support others who are facing this incredibly personal journey.

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Jodi antinoja
on June 7, 2018 - 12:24 pm

Having just shaved my head yesterday, I found your words inspirational and healing. Thank you for sharing your journey!

Marcy Hunter
on June 7, 2018 - 12:24 pm

This is beautiful! I remember while going through cancer treatments, I felt like I was in a cocoon. I kept picturing my future self as a butterfly, escaping from the grips of chemotherapy. Reminding myself that some day I will feel like myself again. I hope you're feeling well! You helped me so much while a patient at Froedtert, and now you're helping me through your writings. I'm very thankful for you!