The portacath will help
says my doctor
It will deliver the chemotherapy to the bloodstream more effectively,
and I nod, and my parents nod,
because what else can you do?
You say yes.
You nod and say yes doctor.
They will cut my chest to create a space
called the pocket.
This is where the port will sit
under my stretched skin, a metal lump.
They will cut my neck,
push the long thin tube through a vein there,
connect the port to my heart.
I wake up.
There’s a red, raw scar on my neck,
just like they said,
and another, with a hard lump beneath it
just below where my breasts will grow,
Once I heal,
It is time to have a new kind of needle.
It will be better, they say,
and I think of my sticker books
full of rewards for the many times
they couldn’t find my veins
and had to try, try again
six, seven times in my arms,
Blaming my body,
blaming me gently, with a frustrated smile:
Your veins are so stubborn, they're barely there!
So this port, this lump, this thing in my chest,
maybe it will be better?
I’m here in the room
waiting for the new needle,
the needle to end all needles.
The nurse says
Don’t worry it won’t hurt too much,
but she says something different with her eyes
and my parents move closer,
to hold me?
To hold me still maybe,
to hold me down maybe.
I’m not sure when I started screaming.
I think it may have been when I saw
big and silver and shiny and sharp,
coming toward me,
now pushing through my stretched skin,
into the metal chamber in my chest.
The anesthetic cream is not enough, it hurts oh god it hurts!
Afterwards they flush the port,
so it will not get blocked.
I slip into sleep
And dream of shining hooks,
Catching me through the lips.