Today’s submission is a poem by Julie Maloney from her wonderful chapbook, Private Landscape (if you live in Toronto, she donated a copy to the Princess Margaret Hospital Library). The chapbook centers around her journey through breast cancer. She is well now after traveling through cancer twice – once in 2000 and again in 2003.
Julie is the founder/director of an organization dedicated to supporting women writers called WOMEN READING ALOUD. Please visit: www.womenreadingaloud.org for more information. She also leads writing workshops for cancer patients and their caregivers at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center in NJ.
This is an amazing love poem that resonated deeply with me. I would encourage you to seek out Julie’s chapbook.
HE LOVES ME THE WAY HE KNOWS BEST
He scoops me up off the toilet bowl
and carries me back to bed
I have fallen asleep again, not deeply,
but my eyelids are closed
And I cannot move one inch
from the tissue paper roll
I recognize his hands under my thighs
They are strong and clean
For cutting vegetables in the kitchen
Chopping away the brown spots into the sink
He brings me oatmeal and tea and toast
Grills cheese and tomato sandwiches
and plates them with a pickle
Buys bruschetta and Italian bread to sop up
the red juice
Never mentions my bald head and round belly
At night he tucks the sheets under my chin
Places the prayer beads in my hands
Climbs next to me in bed
Near the hole in my chest