Artist’s Impression, 2009
She takes a slip of white paper
from the Consultant’s desk
and a black biro from her pocket.
“This (sketching quickly) is your kidney.”
A cute, bean-shaped thing.
A plump curve with a stalk.
“And at the top here” (drawing
a dividing line and squiggles)
are the nephrons, the good guys.
Your tumour’s at the base.”
She inks another line and a blob.
It squats there, nasty and dark
and full, in reality, of cancer cells
that have gorged and grown
for the past six months
without warning signs.
“So”, my Support Nurse continues,
“Mr. De Bolla can remove this part
and you keep the useful bits.”
She smiles, we both smile
and hug each other like schoolgirls.
I take the picture in both hands
and drop it in my shoulder bag.
No need, now, to re-Google
What The Kidney Does,
puzzle over 3-D images
of the minor calyx, renal pyramid
and uteropelvic junction.
I’m free to leave until next week.
Today, I ‘m striding out,
a new route map
swinging against my hip.
Sheila Jacob lives in North Wales with her husband. She was born and raised in Birmingham and resumed writing poetry in 2013 after a long absence. She is frequently inspired by her working -class ‘50’s childhood. Her poems have been published in a number of U.K. magazines and webzines. Last year she self-published a small collection of poems dedicated to her Dad who died when she was almost fifteen.