CHEMO/LAWN — S.L. WISENBERG

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Photos by Linc Cohen

 

We want to believe, and do, that the hair springs back, like that, after chemo, that it knows that it’s safe to return. We remember the oncology resident saying, I remember you, your hair, and even your hair, thick as it is, will fall. Like everyone else’s. It was not autumn. It was spring, when I started, chemotherapy was not dramatic. It was routine, a small room, husband, a good friend, or mother or sister, liquid poisons carefully dripped into the port under the clavicle, meaning a hole attached to tube they had slipped inside, under twilight, the tube somehow linked with the portals of my body.

It ended the last day of August and at first there was nothing, then peach fuzz, then slowly, bare white fringe, like grass, wheat-colored grass, light, thin, even. Not like before. But like lawn. There was nothing to do but furnish it.

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S.L. Wisenberg is working on a nonfiction book, “Moments in Selma & Other Glimpses of the South (with more Jews than you would think),” forthcoming from University of Georgia Press. Her nonfiction books are The Adventures of Cancer Bitch, based on her Cancer Bitch blog, and Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions. Her story collection is The Sweetheart Is In.

Linc Cohen is a former steelworker and retired labor journalist and photojournalist. He is a climate-change activist and blogs at https://aboomerretires.wordpress.com/ .