This is my third Valentine's Day since being diagnosed with breast cancer. I've never written a Vday post before, because there's not a lot that the holiday has in common with cancer. I've done my share of writing about how cancer affects marriage, sexuality, and romance.
I'm essentially lazy these days, so I ordered my husband some chocolates, which I have enjoyed as much as he has, and I bought him the one card I could find at Walgreens that didn't suck. And I wrote him this. Happy Valentine's Day, babe. May we always remember the various ways that love shows its face. Oh, and for those who are concerned about what I wrote in the last post, my boobs seem to be calming down these days, and I don't anticipate needing to go to the oncologist anytime soon. And that, my friends, is a good Valentine's Day present.
by Katy Jacob
In the heat, I stripped off my clothes.
You stood behind me,
touched my face, bent over me, got to work.
The kids slept soundly upstairs.
We were alone together,
in the basement, in the bathroom.
Underground but the humidity still seemed to rise.
Even the mirror began to sweat.
I stared straight ahead
at our reflection, an image of ghosts.
You couldn’t help but cry.
Lost in ourselves, a series of vignettes:
You reaching for
a disposable razor and
a 79 cent can of shaving cream.
My eyes getting bigger,
if only in comparison.
Heaps of hair on your arms,
on your shirt, covering the floor.
The virgin skin of my scalp
unmarred by nicks, or blood.
The small clock laboring in the
slow motion eternity of its ticking.
The midsummer darkness descending.
If I were to write a poem,
I would include these details.
But were I to grow old,
I would remember only this:
Your perfectly steady hand,
being as careful with me
as if I were your child.