the cancer diagnosis
even the most normal of things can betray you-
sunlight; salt; the air between words; your body.
when you accept this, you will want to scream
but it seems strange to scream when everything
around you is bathed in peace – so you swallow it.
the day the x-ray lights up in the doctor’s office,
you barely hear the words coming out of his mouth.
later, you will find fragments in your ears ‘recovery /
survival / scar’ and you want to laugh at the absurdity of it all.
next to you, your mother is crying. when the doctor
leaves the room, you tell her not to look at you –
you don’t want to see what she sees reflected in her eyes.
the knowledge is too much to bear. you wonder how
you could have walked through the world without knowing
what was going on inside your own throat.
there was a time when you thought the worst
things could only happen to other people. this time has come
and gone and you are standing on the other side of it now,
holding your head in your hands.
I am always begging my body not to be so broken
but my body just laughs because it knows who started
this war. on days like this, I am ashamed to look in the
mirror so I lie in bed and pretend to be someone else.
the pretending is another thing to be ashamed of but
that is a story for later. everything I’ve ever
wanted is miles away from my outstretched hands.
I’m beginning to question the point of desire
and things are getting bad again. but sometimes
there are more practical things to consider
like co-pays and insurance companies. I stay in bed.
if only things would hurt in a clearer way.
Fortesa Latifi is a 22-year old poet. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona and calls the desert home. Her first book, This Is How We Find Each Other, was published through Where Are You Press in 2014 and she still can’t believe it. Her work has been featured in Persona, Words Dance, Femrat, Kosovo 2.0, Rising Phoenix, Human Parts, Mend, and is forthcoming in To Write Love On Her Arms. She is currently a contributing editor at Words Dance Magazine where she gets to sing about poetry all day long. Her second book, We Were Young, was published through Where Are You Press in November 2015. She hopes it reminds you of being young and having lipstick smudged on your teeth.