Defining a Cancer Survivor
For you cancer was a gift.
You got attention, you got purpose.
You got a small lump,
Then you got a taste of chemotherapy.
How did you describe it?
An enzyme boost or something? Once?
They gave you radiation, too.
And zap, pronounced you cured.
Sure, there’s still anxiety,
tests that come periodically.
But for this you have group therapy.
And another chance to feel wanted.
No, not wanted, but special.
A facilitator adds her admiration,
others nod in agreement with you.
For they are special, too.
It’s like Jews who survived the
Cancer is a German National Social fascist.
And you happened to be born unlucky.
Jewish, gay, a gypsie
living in Europe in the 1930s and 40s;
wrong chromosomes, or DNA, or cell structure
living in a wealthy Western nation
at the turn of the century.
You escaped the Nazis in the 1930s.
But me, I still linger in Auschwitz today.
The torture is constant. I’m always awake.
Cut me here, stick a tube in the side, zap me there,
experiment with this drug today then
swallow this dry pill down
a mouth lined with cotton balls
to avoid vomiting.
Not once but years of
chemos, laser beams, and surgeries
What do I get for this?
I see how it tears apart the lives of those I love.
My wife doesn’t know which way is up,
buried in a burden
I’d never wish upon my enemies.
My eight year old son is so sensitive,
I worry how his wound won’t ever heal
like the lesions of
cancerous tumors on my scalp.
My five year old son builds a temple of anger
I see the walls ascending higher and higher
until no one can reach in to him
And then there’s my daughter at age two.
How desperately do little girls
in America need a father?
I wonder if she’ll ever remember
this kind loving presence in her youth
or will she search forever on that lost highway
where missing dads become mythical figures
me forever lost in the description
of cancer patient