Literary Triathlon: Picks
By Deborah Whelan
Today's Pick of the Day is from Deborah Whelan of Islington, NL.
Poetry: Life Running Out
Over in a minute, dear, she says
Blue bunnies on her uniform
She holds my hand
He vacuums between my legs
He’s fast, dear, it’ll take no time at all
you can leave, forget about it
leave it all behind you.
A vortex of cells sucked away.
Nothing to It.
Short Story: After Chemo
The numbness in your extremities will continue for months, he told me. He didn’t say I would lose all my toenails.
I wrap my toes in gauze and Vaseline and lace up my Saucony’s. I face the trail that delighted and challenged for years of days.
I walk as if I’m wearing a full diaper. The run that took me fifty minutes at a steady loping rhythm before the rot took away my breasts has exhausted me before I make it past the stand of birch. But I’ve walked for ten minutes. Two minutes more than yesterday.
There’s still time.
Creative Nonfiction: Growing the Gold
“Coming back to the land?” My sister smirks. “Big change for a city girl.”
Am I crazy? Back to a village, hours away from shopping, theatre, non-fat latté?
I swallow panic. Mom taught me everything early: go in prepared, don’t give up. Work through the disappointments. I’ll show you, big sister. It’s all about hard work.
I dig deep. I layer in seaweed from the beach.
I plant virus-free seed potatoes, 3 inches deep, 10 inches apart. I shove dirt up around the babies, I water, hill them again. I cuddle a straw mulch around them.
The flowers are purplish and dance in the breeze. I hold my breath and pull one from the earth, scattering earthworms and dirt across my bare feet.
The skins are yellow, perfect nuggets of Yukon Gold. I wash them, then steam. I add a drip of butter and they are ambrosia.
Triumph is mine.
Deborah Whelan lives in Islington, NL.