It crept up and turned a key in my face

On Monday, November 23, I had Mohs Micrographic surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma from the tip of my nose.  Basal cell is not deadly, but it is invasive and destructive.  So I also have a skin graft from the side of my face onto my nose.  Am swathed in bandages now.  Won’t know what this looks like until next Monday,

This is the third “mohs”  I’ve had: a very large one in 2000, a smaller one on my left temple in 2015,

and this one now.   All those years of sunburn combined with Irish/German skin have done their damage.

Here ‘s a poem I wrote about this a few years ago:


Although the rain ran like a canal

in the creases of the windowsill,

more of it pouring in, filling every crevice

of the screen,

dripping down the lip’s ledge to the floor,

the woman welcomed the wet of it

to her house.

She said, There’s too much danger in the sun.

It’s lied to me for years, she said,

while it crept up and turned its key in my face.

The last line of a later poem: Oh smooth face, fair as flour, when did you leave me?

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

3 thoughts on “It crept up and turned a key in my face

  1. My goodness! I have had Mohs surgery (for the same reason as you) on the top of my scalp. I had a previous surgery in the same spot, but it came back, so they turned to Mohs. There’s melanoma in my family tree on one side and I have a sibling who had a melanoma removed from his forearm. I have ‘suspicious’ spots which the dermatologist watches and tsks over and I never was a sun worshipper in my youth, but like you, my skin was far too fair for even minimal exposure to the sun. Take care, and I’m glad they got it and got rid of it to boot!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good for you for getting things like this taken care of! I empathize totally. MOHS surgery on my face, yes! Tons of ‘little’ stuff picked out out of my skin, yes! And more. German/French parents, fair skin, and malignant melanomas in our family. I hope your Thanksgiving day is splendid, and that the follow-up is routine.

    I love your last line about the sun creeping up and turning a key in your face! Unfortunately, while living in the Deep South and in Southern California, I desperately wanted a wonderful ‘tan.’ Sigh…. Now I know better.

    Liked by 1 person

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