My breast cancer diagnosis arrived
on the most romantic day of the calendar.
Valentine’s Day came not with flowers and chocolates,
red hearts, love language, and passionate kisses.
But  with “It’s cancer.”

I wrapped my arms around the coarse paper cape
required for surgeon visits.  Wonder Woman was
nowhere to be found, no matter how hard I looked.
My heart was silent.
My mind absorbed an an old Latin hymn, scuttling back 
from the past.
The doctor’s eyes questioned mine. I suppose he
asked me a question I did not answer.

I was too busy opening a box of colorful
conversation hearts.  Messages of
cancer babe, cancer dancer, shake your pom poms,
be cancer free imprinted
on the candy hearts.

Once the fog lifted, ominous clouds pushed upward
and Latin words ceased to replicate inside me,
as if a cure was suddenly found, I heard options and
a timeline. 
Surgery was successful.  Daily radiation with its
spaceship hovering above me, seemed to work.
Cheerleaders with pink pom poms at every turn.

The shadow of cancer making a splashing comeback 
remains, regardless of pink pom poms and rah rah rah.
It sits on my shoulder and echoes
the call of the common loon.
A fear of looking back only
to become a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife.