When Lightning Strikes Twice


there is nothing delicate about lightning
or a cancer diagnosis
both seem to fall from the heavens
flash a sharp acrid smell,
rip apart the sky, our world
blind us
knock us senseless
then comes the thunderclap,
ricochets, reverberates, echoing
down to the core of our being.

once hit by lightning we never forget the smell,
the rush of adrenaline
or the lack of oxygen to our brains.

once hit by lightning we forget
our bodies are a hummingbird’s kiss
frosty puffs of breath, a buffalo standing in the snow

once hit by lightning we must remember
the sentinel apple tree charred by a bolt
still sprouts new life, grows sweet fruit.

there is nothing delicate about lightning
or red zippers of cancer scars
both are heaven’s clarion call for fierce grace
welcome angels sow miracles while
we rest in the palm of God’s hand.
We must whisper a wish to a butterfly
gaze at a little girl dancing with a firefly
become a shadow which runs across the grass
lose itself in the sunset
yet greet the roll of thunder come again.

6 responses to “When Lightning Strikes Twice

  1. Love the analogy between lightening and cancer. Sometimes, I recoil from the topic of cancer, because we tend to use words like “battle”, “combat”, “fight”, often violent words, but this poem speaks to me more of cancer as a natural disaster. A part of our life, that sometimes occurs.

    • Judy: Thanks for the comment. I just saw what you wrote. I really think of cancer as a teacher. As in not the teacher I would consciously choose, I would rather have much easier teachers. You know, the easier softer way. However somewhere I did choose to have this experience and I have learned a great deal. I hope that with my books to help others go more easily through their process.

  2. Wow, so moving. I am in tears, and I’ve never had cancer. It seems as though we could replace the word cancer with any issue or circumstance that brings us to our knees. Truly beautiful, thank you.

  3. Mari, we are in a group on facebook together. I too have not had cancer but have been with loved ones who have. I imagine that if I was ever diagnosed with cancer I would feel exactly as your poem describes. I was there with you. I could feel it, taste it. I appreciated it.

    • Dawn, which group do we share? Thank you for your comment. I have had cancer 2x. I really wanted people like you to relate to the experience so thank you for letting me know. That means a great deal to me.

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