09. Joyful Noise

At precisely noon, a small crowd gathered to celebrate

Mom’s chemo graduation.


The nurses threw neon-colored confetti.

The patients clapped the sides of their chairs.

Mom hugged Dad, then me. She looked at the cowbell

perched beside the coffee station.


In her six months of three weeks on, one week off,

only one other patient had rung the bell.

That young woman touched the copper bell timidly,

unsure what came next.


Mom rang that bell for all she was worth.

She would exit with a joyful noise.

Go right ahead.

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