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

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