Liquid Stars

A Tanka Sequence

all day & all night
to God
never questioning why
cancer invaded my life

until the doctor
tells me what stage cancer
i have, my fears
will hang like dewdrops
on a bleeding heart

pale gray clouds
across the morning star
i gather
strength & courage
for my first chemo

wishing my mother
was here to hold my hand
during treatments
from beyond life
i can feel her blessing

after chemo
getting thinner & thinner
my body
its shadow
fading on the wall

hair falling out
in clumps in my brush
on the floor
like petals
of a dying lotus

cancer is merely
a detour in life…
walking down
a nameless road
i stop & pick wild violets

no way off
this cancer journey
i set sail
into the blue batik sky
& glide without wings

autumn leaves
shedding into the misty day
slowly, slowly
my hair
growing back

who will rebuild
the ruins of my heart
after cancer?
i scoop up liquid stars
& drink them

Pamela A. Babusci is an award-winning haiku and tanka poet and haiga artist. Some of her awards include the Museum of Haiku Literature Award, International Tanka Splendor Awards, Yellow Moon Tanka Competition (First Place), Kokako Tanka Competition (First Place), The Saigyo Awards for Tanka (First Place, 2009), The International Tanka Festival in Tokyo (Fifth Place, 2009), and the Basho Festival Haiku contest.

Pamela has illustrated several books, including Full Moon Tide: The Best of Tanka Splendor Awards, Taboo Haiku, Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka 2008, The Haiku Chapbook: Chasing the Sun, and her first tanka collection: A Thousand Reasons (2009). She was the logo artist for Haiku North America in New York City in 2003 and Haiku North America in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 2007. Pamela has a deep desire to be creative on a daily basis, which feeds her spirit and soul and gives meaning to her life. Poetry and art have been an integral part of her existence since her early teenage years and will continue to be a driving force until she meets her creator.

About this poem, which Pamela wrote after treatment for ovarian cancer, she says, “I have always written poetry in times of sadness, joy, or trial in my life. So, after I completed chemotherapy treatment for Stage I ovarian cancer, I wanted to express my innermost feelings to convey exactly how I felt during my cancer journey. Writing ‘Liquid Stars’ has been a blessing and has been instrumental to my inner-healing. My desire is that reading my tanka sequence will bring others comfort, strength, and healing.”