The Red

The red of the port
scar near her heart

of the Citgo sign’s glow
when I turn to the window

of my eyes from watching her
in the infusion bed

the red of the syringe
the nurse inserts into her veins

the red savior drug
to kill all malignancy

the Red Devil
cocktail to save her life

the red I never would have chosen
as the color of hope

the red I now see everywhere
as a sign to believe



Click here to read Laura Foley on the origin of the poem.

Image: “Citgo sign Boston MA Fenway Kenmore Square” by Lori Stalteri, licensed under CC 2.0.

Laura Foley:
It was a surreal experience to watch my wife receiving bright red chemo drugs, injected into her body, knowing that they were basically poison, but that there was a good chance the horrible red liquid could fight the cancer. Our chemo suite was on a high floor in the middle of a big city (Boston), and I found myself fascinated to see the life of the city busy below us, and the famous Citgo sign right down the street. My wife, a former marathoner, told me about the significance of the Citgo sign to runners, how it was a sign of hope, signaling that you were nearing the finish line.

As it turned out, the Red Devil along with other interventions were successful in staving off the cancer. I have great respect for my wife, for enduring the treatments, and to her medical team, the amazing doctors and nurses who helped guide her.

Laura Foley
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