It started in her chest.
Bloomed like a lily,
opened like a fist uncurling to show palm
fingers outstretched to prod against and bother what was unbeknownst to what still moved inside her for her.
It started in her chest and grew.
And when the x-rays came in it was there undeniably.
There like a presence in the backlight
like your eyes playing tricks in the dark
when you’re trying to get to sleep but some parts of the black seem blacker
except with this
there was no mistaking it.
No shrugging yourself off, falling asleep though fitful
and waking up with what was imagined forgotten.
It was there,
the unwanted guest that forced itself in
but the truth was the guest itself was family.
Baby cell born from parents split in half to give it life
but it betrayed them and it betrayed her.
And the heart beat on. I wonder if it knew.
Pumped blood to keep blood inside skin,
kept going kept going kept going.
Lungs still brought in breath and kept breathing
And the stomach kept digesting
but all that was eaten went to feed the monster in her body.
the traitor. Reproducing relatives that were traitors too.
I suppose we’re called survivors when our bodies turn against us but
it’s not as if we’re given the choice anyway.
And she was trying for one more day.
one more glimpse of her granddaughters’ smile,
one more forehead kiss from her son
one more bite of knafa
one more meal she could cook for her children
and one more time she could hold his hand
like they were kids again
he who had appeared like a dream when they were younger.
I suppose we’re all heroes when we’ve got something to live for.
And when the time came she knew.
Woke up her last day and knew the final chaos would begin.
It wasn’t a matter of giving up or giving in.
The growth decided that it was happening
and though all that was within had tried
the heart that had been beating stopped going.
And something in her loves clicked off as well.
Organs turned hard and hearts turned cold.
And tears wouldn’t come though they sat in
their chests like a stone.
They wondered if this pain was what she had felt too.
They wished for one more day.
But the days passed without her.
I suppose we’re called fighters when we’ve got something to be sad for
but it’s not as if we’re given the choice anyway.