Rat Poison

I remember a time when I felt no hope

When all of my dreams just went up in smoke.

It was the day they told me he was sick

And there might be a few things he couldn't help but miss.


The doctors told me to “prepare myself for seven months of pure restlessness.”

For there would be days he could not get up and out of bed,

And there would be tears, not smiles, instead.

My parents and I were worried for a long six months ahead.


My mom and I prayed a lot during that half of a year

I was happy we were all together, even if we could not be near.

My dad slept on the couch downstairs

Shaking and shivering, then feverish and sweating, “I am fine!” he would declare.


Every three weeks for three straight days

“Rat poison” as he called it was injected into his veins.

He would gain some strength and start to feel decent  

When it was time for another round… how inconvenient.


After the treatments, he would sleep all day.  

Curled up on the couch is where he would stay.

Clenching a knitted blue and white blanket

Of course, always staying near a wastebasket.


I remember waking up to him retching, loudly

Looking pale, fatigued, and drowsy.  

He was shrinking in size, seeming thin as a stick!

We all knew this would not be quick.


He couldn’t concentrate to read

One of his most favorite past times.

His concentration was not as it used to be

A side effect of the drugs, you see.


He watched reruns instead

Then retired back to bed.

He couldn’t stand the smells in the kitchen

And his appetite? A lost ambition.


We bought him a pair,

My mother and I,

Of boxing gloves

In hopes of reminding him to fight.


He lifted them from the box

The expression on his face turned into one of shock.

Christmas had just passed

“What are these for?” He asked.


“Daddy,” I told him, “You’re in the ring. Fighting the battle of your life.”


He stopped for a second and stared at me

I was no longer a scared little girl, now he could see.

He looked sullenly down at the box,

And blinked at the sound of the clock.


He finally took the gloves out of the box.

He had set remission in his sight.

My mother and I knew then

He was ready to fight.


I remember it as if it were yesterday.  

Although now, the sickness is so far away.

Friends and family gathered around him in glee

For he has just finished his last chemotherapy.


There at Fox Chase, we clapped and cheered

As my father held that golden bell in his hand


With no fear

This poem is about: 
My family


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