by Autumn McClintock

In 1994 under FDA approval, Taxol, a semisynthetic
form of paclitaxel from the slow-growing Pacific yew tree
became one of the best

plant-based treatments available. Lucky yew: they semi-saved it,
knew its nature (knew they needed it) and unlike malignancy,
decided not to wipe it off the planet. Raced to forge a factory sub,

mimicked its cell-killing super powers. Using words like
experimental, heralded, hella powerful, cape-wearing,
mountain-scaling-but-without-altitude-sickness…JK. JK.

It’s good, though, you should try it.
Regular chemo’s, like, don’t even think about it. Really,
it’s pretty much all we’ve got for you.

Side effects include little a this, little a that, and lung inflammation.
Official cause of death: pneumonia. Casual mention
of causal ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, dumped in a bucket

months before. One of those yellow and black symbols,
looking like a reel to reel. Here’s a spin,
little music for you: toxic, took it, taken.

Autumn McClintock lives in Philadelphia and works at the public library. Her first chapbook, After the Creek, was published in 2016. Poems of hers have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and others. She’s a staff reader for Ploughshares.