Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Walk on the write side

Photo By Andrew Boost

Patricia Wellingham-Jones promotes the writing side of the Enloe Cancer Center program. Wellingham-Jones, who lives in Tehama County, struggled with breast cancer for many years, but is now celebrating her seventh year of cancer-free living.

Wellingham-Jones, a self-described “writer till she dies,” knows what cancer victims are going through. Through her work, she feels she makes a connection with those suffering just as she did. Writing satisfies her desire to encourage people to keep fighting.

Because chemotherapy took away much of the stamina she once had, Wellingham-Jones is no longer able to participate in charity walks or runs. Writing is her contribution. And she’s done well with it, winning awards for her poetry and writing a good amount of prose as well. Her books can be found on her Web site, at

Walk of the One-Breasted Women

A strange congregation,
these warrior women
creating our own modern myth.
Feet clunky in Reeboks
we march down Main Street,
less interested in destination
than in being.
Hairless heads helmeted
in turbans, wigs and baseball caps
(full heads of hair
follow rites of passage).
Not all are one-breasted.
Some have no breasts, others
a sad little half, or large pinch
taken out of the fullness.
Each carries a shield,
tiny ribbon loop in pink
pinned on the front of her shirt.
Most have taken poison
to drive out the invader, all
live with the sense of time racing.
On this day we join together,
pool our ages, strength,
our hearts. Watch as people
on the streets join in.
By the end of the walk
we’re all laughing with joy,
send a glow of hope heavenward
in a cloud wrapped with pink.

Published in EDGZ Winter/Spring 2001

One Day in December
for Lefty

Mango and raspberries
for a rainy day breakfast
when you suddenly learn
you have two weeks to live.
Papayas and blueberries
for the snow-day lunch.
Smoked salmon by the fire,
thick T-bone later.
Whim? Fancy? Perhaps
the final cravings
of the flesh. So
swirl brandy in its large glass,
bite into dark chocolate.
Cherish your spouse,
fill your lap with children,
email lost cousins.
Pray for swift passage.
Hug the cat.

Don’t Turn Away

We’ve had our drinks, our plural dates,
talked about everybody we ever knew.
Shared many kisses, the last of them
deep, rubbed aching bodies
against each other.
Now you want to undress me.
I don’t know if I can bear it.
Sometime back, I told you
about the phony lump in my bra.
But soon, your warm hands will slide
along my ribs, unhook the flesh-colored lace,
gather me in for a long hug. Then,
when you step back and run your eyes
over my one nipple, across the dented
healing slash, up to my face,
will I see on your skin
the ripple of revulsion, a strained smile,
the cooling of heat?
Or will the softness in your eyes
bring tears of thanks to mine
as chest hair tickles scar tissue
and the northern lights flash?