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Cancer Poem     

Cancer is heavy, like suicide

like rape it pulls down the page

keeps us on the run

you say cancer and people shake their heads

ask just enough questions to reassure themselves

like rape, they want to know where she was

what she did, skirt too short maybe 

not the right friends

or as someone said to me after Mama died

“Didn’t you say your Mom had a lot of anger?

In Chinese medicine anger is stored in the ovaries

so that makes sense.”

I wanted to slap them but I didn’t, I used to do that too

protect myself with- people get cancer because

they don’t let their emotions out

they do something bad, wrong, ignorant

then my beautiful, emotional mother

who ate well, lived well, laughed as often as she cried

got ovarian cancer stage four

lived three years fighting it

and then she died.


She didn’t get cancer because she was angry

she got cancer because it’s luck of the damn draw

because we are earth

and what is done to the earth

is done to us

the soil

the air

the water

and our own sweet mortal flesh.

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