Escape from Chemo

Ellen Diamond

And while the stuff drips in, I’m rolling over
in my mind the two words: Kemo Sabe.

It’s the name that Tonto called his friend
the Lone Ranger, back in radio days.

I could use a trusty sidekick now,
crouched behind the white screen near the door,

ready in an instant to unsheathe
his blade, then back us slowly to the window.

Just before we jump and land directly 
on his very strong-backed pony, I’ll let loose 

with such a joyful whoop of liberation 
that every nurse and doctor in the place

will stop what they are doing for a minute
to revel in their own dreams of escape.

About the poet:

Ellen Diamond was a counselor with the New York State Department of Labor for over thirty years, during which time she earned an MA in counseling and an MSW. Early in 1998, she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and decided to retire in 2000 to pursue her interests in music and writing. Following her remission in 2004, she had the privilege of singing with a chorus in both Carnegie and Avery Fisher halls and also had the pleasure of performing a song she wrote with Pete Seeger, one freezing night in Beacon, NY. Ellen studies poetry at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, plays piano daily and has recently finished editing an old friend’s manuscript. Her CLL remains in remission.

About the poem:

“When I first began chemo in 2000, I wrote four poems about it. This is the most lighthearted one. Two years ago, I joined a poetry class and began to write more seriously. This is the first of my poems to appear in print since I was in fifth grade, but a few more can be seen in an anthology to be published this fall by the 92nd Street Y.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

About the Poem

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Poems

Popular Tags
addiction alcohol addiction allergies anatomy lab bedside manner bigotry breast cancer cancer caregiver stories caregiving chemotherapy child abuse childbirth children chronic illness complementary therapies confidentiality connecting with patients coping with death coping with illness coping with patient death cross-cultural health care cultural competence death and dying death of a parent dementia depression diabetes disability doctor-patient communication doctor-patient relationship doctor as patient doctor poems doctor stories drug addiction end of life end of life decision making faith family medicine frustration with healthcare system genetic disorders geriatrics getting the news healing health care policy health care politics health insurance HIV humor ill parent immigration inequality international health labor and delivery leukemia medical errors medical student stories medical training medicine memorable patients mental health mental health professional stories mental illness military medicine miracles miscarriage mistakes neuroscience nurse poems nurse stories ob/gyn palliative care parent stories Parkinson's disease patient-centered care patient poems patient stories pediatrics personal remembrance physician assistant stories poem poems/poetry pregnancy PTSD race realizing human mortality resident stories role modeling self care social determinants of health social issues social worker stories spirituality stress and burnout suicide surgery thanksgiving the bad doctor visuals war veteran
Scroll to Top