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Stem Cell Transplant as Chimera

By Walela Nehanda

I am run ragged by another woman’s
immunity transplanted inside me.
I am not myself on a cellular level.
Somewhere, in my biology.
I am in Greece. I am a good woman.
Thirty five and Santorini chic.
I am a mother with eggshell linen.
Shuffling in a Mamma Mia dance number.
People will brag about being in proximity
to my uncomplicated existence.
How I do everything without
need for validation or thank you.
I am projecting onto my savior.
A white woman smites me.
Another likely saved me from
the scourge of this leukemia.
I don’t remember much, other
than silver teeth spitting “girl,”
beating me into the shape
of an evangelical bruise.




Listen as Walela Nehanda readsStem Cell Transplant as Chimera .”

Added: Tuesday, August 1, 2023  /  Used with permission.
Walela Nehanda

Walela Nehanda is a Black, queer, non binary, disabled, neuroexpansive baddie based in Los Angeles (Tongva Land). They are a cultural worker, facilitator, and spicy Pisces, who is a die-hard Studio Ghibli fan. Walela’s work, whether related to writing or organizing, has been featured in SELF Magazine, Nylon Magazine, GROWN Mag, The Guardian, Teen Vogue, and more. In 2020, they were included in Out Magazine’s list of 100 “groundbreaking, ripple-inducing, and culture-shifting people in the nation'' within the LGBTQIA+ community for their advocacy work related to stem cell transplant patients. Walela’s debut title, Bless the Blood: A Cancer Memoir, is forthcoming in February 2024 from Kokila Books/Penguin Teen. 

Image Description: Walela Nehanda, a non binary person with brown skin and bronze-y natural makeup, is wearing a long wavy black wig with a black bandana in a moderately lit hallway. They are staring into the camera with a close-lipped smile while wearing a beige crochet sweater with holes paired with a gold medallion, a whale fin mood necklace, and large round gold rimmed glasses with a black and abalone shell beaded glasses chain.

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