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This poem was written by our Project Life member and L.I.F.E. mentor Flori Hendron.

I’ve crossed the border

from a long life

to living in the countdown

of the end of my life

I was ripped out of a world

where I was mostly okay

and thrown into a world

of the not okay

the never to be okay again

And this new place I reside

the right here/right now

it’s rough to manage

everyone around living forward

trips, plans, goals, dreams


Mention the future to me

Watch me crumble!

My right here/right now

Is the land of

I can only hope

for tomorrow

Time like a ruthless border patrol

keeping me in

While moving on

Time without regard for me,

or my borders

or my right here/right now

My son dares to plan his wedding

In another Era

Another Century

Another universe

Very far away

One whole year from now

And I crumble

My heart broken

Thinking thinking thinking

I don’t have that kind of time.

I can’t deliver on that date.

Mom he says angrily.

And then comes his rage.

His rage at my right here/right now.

I thought you’re okay he says.

I’m on a three-month plan.

I can deliver on three months

I can’t deliver on 12 - it’s too far away

He’s mad.

He accuses me

You’re always dying.

Always saying you’re sick.

Remember our family appointment

at the oncologist, I say.

He acts like it’s a language he doesn’t speak

in a country he’s never visited.

He calls his sister

She tries to explain her empathy

For my borders.

Imagine someone going through chemo

And not feeling well all the time

But they only go through it for a few months

And then they recover.

Like your friend, in high school, remember.

And you were supportive

Even though he was sometimes sick

And often angry about it.

Mom’s been living there for 14 years.

Daughter tries to map out her empathy.

Son tries to read the map.

Fuck Breast Cancer Awareness

PinkTober, already crossing my borders

Breathing down my back those sneaky fucks.

A hot wet breath of ignorance and false information.

Cancer Muggles getting their jokes cued up.

Trying to alleviate their own anxiety.

All their dumb slogans, such empty words.

Save the Tatas,

Fight like a girl,

Not today cancer,

Breasties are Besties

In October we wear pink,

together, faith, cure,

pink, life, strength,

power, hope,

Fight - fight - fight

All artfully arranged

In a jumbo pink heart.

All that pink

Threatening to cross my border.

Socks T-shirts hats blankets water bottles and coffee cups

BECAUSE no one survives cancer without a pink ribbon coffee mug.

If you have a friend who died from metastatic breast cancer

you can be sure it was from a lack of pink ribbon merchandise.

I live on the edge.

In the right here/right now.

I own zero pink ribbon merchandise

No mugs. No T-shirts, not a cup or even a pen.

With you,


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1 Comment

Flori -- thank you for these beautiful, harsh, real words. I will still hope that your next poem is about attending your son's wedding. Sending love.

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