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Interesting to have the tips
of my fingers numb all the time;
I check my toes on cold days
to see if they need a warm soak.
My lips tingle from time to time;
my message worries the Clinic staff
enough to call—they think a stroke,
but she says nothing is drooping.
Buttoning is different on some shirts,
and zipping up feels different.
Don’t stub a toe, I tell me.
The pain’s the same. But the touch
worries me, and kissing isn’t the same
I am sure for her as well. If the numbness
worsens, the Clinic will cut back on
the chemo, but do I want that?
Yes and no. Yes and no.



David Alexander McFarland has  completed a novel and has internationally published poetry, fiction and essays in such places as Stories, Southern Humanities Review, Coe Review,  and The Paumanok Review. He started treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2018, and primarily writes now about that experience. He lives alongside the Mississippi River where it flows east to west.

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