To KG as she goes through chemotherapy

There’s a new companion at our weekly lunch.
Elenora gently takes a seat —
The extra one, usually reserved for purses
Or packages
Or pictures of your grandchildren.

She’s quite polite
Hardly eats a thing — just sweeps up the crumbs with her dexterous trunk
Brushes away your falling hairs with her massive ears
As we talk of everything-but.

Though you offer to meet me, I‘m happy to drive
And you gladly accept.
It feels good to get out
But Ellie takes up too much room in the car.
She sticks her head out the window like a faithful dog
Adding just enough drag
To slow you down.

The elephant in the room is persistent,
Camouflaged, yet hard to ignore.
We do our best, week by week,
Knowing in a few months she’ll go back to the zoo.
And though she tries hard to become part of the furniture,
We await the day when the house shakes a final time
As she squeezes through the door
And dances away.

Mindy Langer came to Princeton to join a pediatric practice and has lived in Princeton Junction for over 30 years. Her husband, son, and daughter are all poets, and she has proudly attended many readings but has never shared her own work, until now. This poem was inspired by a good friend who is now a long-time breast cancer survivor.

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