FAREWELL TO HAIR
by Terri Hanson
I stood outside on a windy day
I imagined a nest,
Now on the wintry nights,
"When I first started losing my hair from the chemo, my hair was literally blowing off my head," says breast cancer survivor Terri Hanson, forty-three. "It made my very sad. But then I thought of baby birds sleeping in it, and I thought it would be okay." Hanson heard about the Cancer Poetry Project, wrote her first poem, and set it off.
"Writing this poem was just the beginning," she says. "Having cancer has taught me that I need to live for today and unleash my creative talents." Hanson has since designed a breast cancer logo which is being placed on merchandise for breast cancer patients and survivors.
Hanson lives with husband Donald and their three teenagers in Maple Grove, Minnesota. As for her hair, she has kept it short. "People tell me it fits my personality," she says.
by Marjorie Woodbury
When he wakes with pain pounding
Marjorie Woodbury died in 1993 at age fifty-three from leukemia. "Chocolates" is part of a seven-poem sequence called "Fast Ride," which she wrote about her uncle's death from lung cancer.
As a medical editorial advisor at the University of Virginia Medical Center, Woodbury encountered cancer patients at the hospital every day. She also lost her mother to cancer, as well as a friend and fellow employee at the hospital. "She had a deep capacity to empathize with the suffering of others, perhaps because of her own experience with loss," says Dana Roeser, her friend and literary executor.
Woodbury, who wrote all of her life (she published her first story at the age of twelve), completed her MFA degree at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Prior to her death, her poems appeared in Poetry East, Zone 3, Iris, The Bennington Review, and othe publications. A number of her poems have been published posthumously.
by Floyd Skloot
She is alive. Although her doctors said
Floyd Skloot, fifty-three, wrote these poems out of his "love for two friends, and for their courage and determination to live meaningfully."
Skloot lives with wife Beverly in a small round house that she built on her twenty acres of forest in western Oregon. Disabled for twelve years, Skloot says the tranquil setting helps him to heal and work. His books include The Open Door (Story Line Press, 1997) and The Evening Light (Story Line Press, 2001). His writings about illness appear in The Best American Essays 2000 (Houghton Mifflin) and The Best American Science Writing 2000 (Ecco Press).
by Floyd Skloot
This is a spring he never thought to see.