The full body scan announced cancer in her lower left quadrant. She took the handheld and found the almost imperceptible node deep in her shin. The last one had been in her knee and her thigh before that.

Distractedly, she switched the handheld to extraction and felt the node lift toward her skin until she could squeeze a bit. The blue laser would finish the removal.

She held the gum drop-like cancer to her eye, tempted to taste or preserve it, like a trophy, before the incineration. It reminded her of early teenage acne extractions; she laughed and continued grooming.

Heather Bourbeau’s latest book, "Daily Palm Castings," is a collection of poems profiling people in often-overlooked professions, and inspired by works by Lyle Lovett, Wim Wenders and Studs Terkel. She is a researcher, analyst, writer and reporter specializing in government policy, human rights, international conflicts, and economic development.

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