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October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3

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Ray Rasmussen


It's been about a month since I noticed a small scab on my forehead that doesn't seem to be healing.

In the med centre clinic room, Dr. Jackson takes a quick look, says, ”Sunspot, let's get it off."

While he's busy putting syringe, scalpel, needles and thread on a tray, I manage to stammer, “Sunspot? Is that another word for skin cancer?"

"No, no," he says, while picking up the syringe. "Here, just a bit of freezing."

A few minutes later, my forehead numb, he picks up a scalpel, cuts off a small slice, drops it into a plastic vial and quickly sews me up.

"Just a tiny piece of skin, that. We'll send it to the lab and I'll want to see you next week to take the stitches out."

"And, the report . . . when will I hear?”

“When you come in. Don’t worry, it's good you came right away. One patient waited 6 months and it was too late.”

On the drive home, the words flash through my mind . . . tiny piece of skin . . . cancer . . . waited too long ... too late . . . .

How long was it really on my forehead before I noticed it?

Home, I walk into the living room, say, "Hi" to my daughter.

"Hi dad" she says, without looking up from her homework.

Everything seems just as I left it a few hours ago. Yet everything seems different.

stretched out in
her favourite sunspot
the black and white cat

Note: The haibun is a revision of an original that appeared in Bottle Rockets, 2009.