Friday, July 5, 2013

The Waiting Game (A Poem About Cancer)

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Here's a poem that I wrote about cancer for some cancer anthology. I didn't get in but I'd thought I'd share this poem all the same. I hope you like it.

            Like Cthulhu, the cancer sleeps and dreams.
It dreams about many things, but mostly about coming back.
It’s itching to,
been meaning to.
But it’s decided to wait and lay dormant among the other cells.
Sleeping quietly, but ready to wake up and
return when the thought of cancer is stronger in the host’s head.
Cancer knows that it’s at its mightiest when its host is most afraid.
Right now, its host isn’t afraid at all.
It’s too soon. He got over cancer two years ago.
He went through Chemo and had his right testicle removed.
No matter, as what’s a testicle to cancer?
It wanted the whole body next time, not just a single nut.
Now, the host has one ball, which he feels regularly in the shower each morning.
His woman checks him, too.
She feels his sack, and he feels her breasts for lumps as they lay in bed together.
His fingers circle her pink areolas.
“I won’t let it come back,” she always told him as she looked into his eyes and
caressed him down there.
“It won’t come back,” he reassured her, not realizing that it wasn’t up to him.
Just like getting it the first time wasn’t up to him. It was in his family history.
A great-aunt had it in her skin, his grandpa in his colon.
Cancer, in that way, was distant and yet, so close. So near.
On a good night, the cancer dreamt about journeying to the host’s pancreas.
Do him in in the worst possible way.
There’s no beating cancer in the panc.
And some other nights, it dreamt about traveling to the host’s brain.
Treatment could make the host slanted and erratic.
Make him say things that he would never say if he didn’t have cancer.
It could also put him in a hospice.
There, he could marvel at the way sunlight hit the windows in the next building over.
The sunlight he won’t see in a few week’s time if the cancer sticks its landing.
But for now, the cancer will bide its time in dreams.
It’ll have to,
because again, the host is not afraid.
Not yet, anyway, while he still has his woman, his hope, and his bumper sticker.
So the cancer will have to wait
And wait.
And dream.
But as everyone knows, nothing alive ever stays asleep forever.

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