She told me what I hoped to hear –

that I’m healthy and recovered and doing well.

But I realized

I always have been, as much as I am now. I don’t 

know if I have something else going on – hemoglobin will paint another corner of the picture –

but in this uncertainty I am as certain as every person alive 

that I’m dying

slower or faster or more consciously than some, I do not know.

This consciousness of mortality leads to gratitude for joy, gratitude for laughter, gratitude for all of it

And I’m grateful for this reality occurring on a non-terminally ill body. 

I didn’t realize a side effect of having cancer would be loose-leaf gratitude

steeping in my soul,

pouring out from every pore.

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