Chemo brain is not generally a poetic topic, but there are exceptions to everything. I was delighted to see this poem on NPR's website and hope that you like it, too.
Chemo Scrambled My Brain
After years working as a nurse in critical care units, Anne Webster found herself lying in the hospital struggling to get well. She had been given the wrong dose of a chemotherapy medication to treat Crohn's disease. The mistake had caused her bone marrow to shut down, and she'd developed pneumonia.
As she lay in the hospital, she thought, "If I live, I'm gonna write about this."
After three weeks, she recovered. And the experience led Webster to write Chemo Brain, a poem about how the drug scrambled her thinking.
Poetry, she says, has a way of trimming "away every extraneous word until the essence shines through."
These days, she writes essays and poetry full-time. Webster's first collection of poems, A History of Nursing, was nominated for a 2008 National Book Award. She's currently working on a second anthology and a novel about a nurse involved in a murder mystery.
"I'm a nurse," she says. "It's what I know."