I read the newspaper's horoscope
at the breakfast table between my coffee
and husband. He says, read me
the sign of Cancer, but we are both
Leos—strong. Strong enough
to laugh at cancer. Diagnosis day three.
First came the lump, like the kind I now find
stuck in the back of my throat from tears,
except his was in the armpit. Felt funny.
He found it while shaving. I found it
when I curled into him under the sheets.
I yelled because he hadn't told me.
Second and third, diagnosis and treatment.
We're not laughing after a month, out of fear
not reading the horoscope or talking between coffee.
When I reach for his hand, it's gone,
clasped in his lap, away from me.
It's on my skin, he says. Everywhere
in my body, and on my skin most of all.
What if it's contagious? How can I tell
him I love him even so? I wait, and he cannot
walk. I wait, and he cannot feed himself. I wait,
and we have hospice, and his body is heaving black
growths. In his muscles and his lymph. Everywhere.
Last, I kiss him,
his mouth and his skin
and his cancer most of all.
I wish I could love even that.
—Sophia Valesca Görgens, MD Candidate
Emory University School of Medicine