She was scheduled for bilateral mastectomies.
I lifted her gown to listen to her chest, and was startled to read the words she had carefully inked across her breasts:
On the right: The Lord giveth.
On the left: The Lord taketh away.
And across her abdomen: Blessed be the Lord.
Margie Nairn is a retired nurse and emerging writer in Corvallis, Oregon, where she writes memoir, poetry, and silly limericks for her daughter.
Ellen’s cat got out. He finally figured out how to open the screen door. His name is Whiskers. He’s friendly for a cat. Always rubbing against people’s ankles. He’ll answer to his name. I haven’t told Ellen yet. We live on Longview. The traffic’s heavier since they widened the road.
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, despite severe vision loss, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
My life depends on the drugs, the research, the doctors. There are no miracles, only love of family. The IV drip is like the beat of a second heart pulsing its cancer-burning flames through my body. It keeps this fire raging in my eyes that both consumes and saves me.
Jim Doss lives in Sykesville, Maryland, and earns his living as a software engineer. He has previously published two books of poems: Learning to Talk Again and What Remains. In partnership with Werner Schmitt, he also published a book of German translations entitled The Last Gold of Expired Stars: The Complete Poems of Georg Trakl 1908 – 1914. In his spare time, he is an editor for the Loch Raven Review.
Things I’ve done for money: collected cans for cash, sold chocolate, shoveled sidewalks after a snowstorm. Once I built an amusement park in the backyard and sold tickets. That was the summer Mom quit chemo.
I told jokes for a penny. She bought a hundred, and listened from her bed.
Jane Hertenstein wrote this story.
She appreciated, more than ever, the smell of her coffee and the sunlight reflecting off her back porch. The weather was unfairly perfect. Soon enough, the kids would know. But, for now, she let her smile hide the hopeless, sinking feeling welling up in her gut.
The cancer was back.
Myron Tetreault is a Calgary-based businessman, athlete and author.
When the scientist stepped into the office, his eyes flickered before his boss. “I’ve found the cure to cancer!”
His boss sighed, assuming a gloomy expression. “Forget about it. Cancer is an elegant way to keep the world population in check.”
“But,” he grimaced, “I have cancer.”
“So do I.”
George S Karagiannis is a cancer biologist, which is why he wrote this thought-provoking story. He is also an aspiring science fiction author Find more of his writing on his website
Morning was a tangle of sweaty sheets and panic.
One coffee cup stain on the table, one bowl to wash; the start of a never ending sequence of ones.
Black heels clicked across the linoleum. The limousine was here.
They had always been two; now she was one.
Sandra Bunning, an overstuffed teddy bear from Calgary, Alberta, has always lived in a fantasy world that she much prefers to the real one. Both a Poet and a Writer, she finds endless inspiration in the day by day life of the people around her. Published in several school publications and blogs, Sandra is only now dipping her toes into the field professionally.
On Monday, she looked at the Tarot cards on her bed.
On Tuesday, she fondled the Blarney Stone.
On Wednesday, she rolled a pine cone in her hand.
On Thursday, she kissed the cat goodbye.
On Friday, she wrote thank-you letters.
On Saturday, she slept.
On Sunday, dead of cancer.
Ruth Z Deming has been published in lit mags including Hektoen International, Literary Yard and River Poets Journal. A psychotherapist, she runs New Directions Support Group for people and families affected by depression and bipolar disorder. She lives in Willow Grove, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her blog is ruthzdeming.blogspot.com.
“Lightning never strikes twice.”
Mom chanted those words anytime something bad happened. She kept the family on track, always smiling.
When the cancer came back, the smile momentarily left her face.
“So much for the laws of lightning,” she said, before she started cooking, filling the freezer with our favorites.
Sarah Scott lives in some part of Canada where she is currently searching for an algorithm to automatically generate witty, one-sentence bios. You can check out some of her writing at oneforonethousand.com.
He was now a different man. Clothed in brittle skin, reduced to bones, he lay swallowed up by the bed. Drawing in air, his lungs choked.
Overwhelmed, I closed my eyes. Burning tears plunged down my cheeks.
Cancer had stolen my son, and turned him into a collector of time.
Chong Teck Sim is an aspiring writer from Singapore with a passion for art, travel, history, writing, literature, languages, and world cultures. In his free hours, he participates in volunteer work to gain life skills.