My brain on fire last June


Autumn Foerderer


Tuesday, June 9, 2021

I read an article on Medium that mentioned a poetry competition for Pride month. I sent it on to Samantha, my daughter, as she writes mind-blowing poems and encouraged her to enter. Unfortunately, the challenge is past due which I should have realized but didn’t. So, I decided to try my hand at it as the topic intrigued me. I am not a poet. I am a straight, middle-aged white lady as boring as they come, but I like a challenge and thought “what the heck.” Samantha is a fascinating creature with an incredible brain. She is in a long-term relationship with a man but is on a spectrum of sexuality. I’d say she does not claim anything. She’s just her, but I’d check with her as I may be wrong (as mothers sometimes are). The competition by Vocal was to write a poem about something that makes you unique, inspired by the idea of color. Grey is the color for brain cancer and is also a literary symbol for sadness. My childhood was mostly gray. My adult life has been much more colorful, but the gray still hovers due to my cancer and other life losses. I hope you enjoy my gray poem.


Cinderella my first kitten

Gray is my color (grey)

Gray for my first kitten who was tragically killed by a grey stone

flung by a passing mower

Gray for endless winters cold and grey

alone and lonely longing for summer

Gray for my childhood in all its grey confusion

my youthful winsome mom doing her best

Gray for the 3 grey hairs on Grandpa Ernie’s head

his mind and heart I so deeply loved

Gray for the grey tipped pencils

required at the ubiquitous schools I did attend

Gray for the old grey-haired Serbian man

I married too soon

Gray for the grey Oldsmobile driving fast, icy curvy roads

above Superior, not caring if I lived, taking my hands off the wheel

Gray for the frigid grey ocean waves

beckoning me achingly to join the darkness

Gray for the backyard grey fire-pit smoke

I relished with my true partner

Gray for the grey lost years

of mourning my living mother

Gray for the grade II grey brain tumor

that haunted my thirties

Gray for the grey titanium plates

that clamp my still sore skull together

Gray for the grey gadolinium

that quarterly pulses through my veins

Gray for my grey-silver flute

the craniotomy did take

Gray for the grey headstone of my mother-in-law

who should still be standing in her beloved kitchen

Gray for my mother’s long, shiny grey hair

that I now see with loving frequency

Gray for my brain that became a blank slate akin to grey slate

as I lay not knowing I was passing quickly

Gray for the gross grey-matter

that was skillfully removed last summer

Gray for the stage IV grey brain tumor

that consumes my every waking move

Gray for the cold grey concrete floor

my seized body woke to

Gray for the grey dust

that I feel I must constantly remove

Gray for the growing grey flecks

in both of our hairs

Gray for cremation, but.

Not. Yet.

grey cashmere I wrap myself in

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Autumn Foerderer

Ramblings from a broken brain: stage IV brain cancer: giving up the life I planned, greeting the one waiting for me: thoughts, anxieties, hopes, dreams: LIFE.