“It’s malignant,” Laura said. She had telephoned to give Robbie the bad news. Mum didn’t want her to know, not yet, but Laura knew she must be told.

The pain was almost physical. Fear crawled into her stomach, like a hungry caterpillar. Over the next few months it fed on her internal anguish and anxiety, growing fat and content in contrast to its host’s shrinking form and metal turmoil. She kept it all inside her, externally presenting a calming and confident presence. This battle was largely about the mind. Mental strength to withstand the harsh treatment and bludgeon this unwelcome invader to an early death.

The body is fragile. It succumbs to the gutsy, guzzling of the greedy cancer. The medications poison it. Robbie watched as the chemotherapy dripped into her mother’s veins, choking the life out of the cancer. This was a death struggle to watch with great pleasure and welcome triumph.


it builds its fine, gossamer web

nature’s best worker

entrapping unwary prey

a delicious meal for one.


This haibun was written for Colleen Chesebro’s 100th tanka tuesday poetry challenge:

As a special treat, I thought it would be fun for everyone to pick their own words this week.

You can join in the fun here: https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/09/04/colleens-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-100-poets-choice-of-words/