28

28 candles flickering.
I close my eyes and make a wish.
I can’t tell you what it is, that would be bad luck.

28 years old, her chart reads.
Triple-negative invasive breast cancer.
What, I wondered, did she wish for?
She can’t tell me, that would be bad luck.

A half-collapsed cake in the corner of the break room.
Sticky plastic knives resting on crumbs and smeared frosting.
A sad pile of sugar trying to sustain the entire third floor of the hospital.
I close my eyes and make a wish for her.
I can’t tell you what it is, that would be bad luck.

Veronica is a member of the University of Utah School of Medicine class of 2021. She studied biology and psychology at Creighton University, and human anatomy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She enjoys exploring the beautiful outdoors, writing snail mail, and reading with a good cup of coffee.


Rubor Participation
2020 Poem, "Firsts"