On the morning of the second day / by Risa Denenberg
after the word was first uttered (during that one-way
conversation you later can’t remember ) you suddenly
know (an odd word, because now everything is changed)
that it has seeded or mutated or whatever it is cancer does,
and there you are, joined with a myth of creation.
Goddamn fucking cancer! Freakish beast, arising as if
from aether in your breast, your prostate, your colon, your liver,
your very bones, these private plummy places you’ve never once
offered up to it. And we who share your species will affirm:
so unfair, so young, so gifted, so promising.
Wthout remorse, it has latched on like a suckling pig
to your cells and won’t let go. A fist-sized tumor from some
other phylum that started out smaller than a sperm, invisible
without pricy machinery; and let’s face it, those experts
with their fancy PET scans missed it anyway.
Savage miscreant! Shoving and pushing, gobbling calories,
imbibing marrow. And everything you hate about lodging
this outcaste will be conflated by its treatment, a rageful
act of warfare that will, like cancer itself, shove its profligate eye
into your cavities and reverse everything you once called you.