“His turn”

Cancer Narrative: Words Beyond Disease

“His turn”

A.C. Swan , MD
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.20.1585

It was his turn and he came.
Shuffled, snuffled, sighed,
As he plunked into the chair.

To his left was his grandchild.
Massive, passive, sullen,
The sole ride that he had there.

So we started like each time.
Pleasing, teasing, prodded
About things he had to bear.

His eyes remained averted.
Panning, scanning, lifeless,
So I swiveled with a stare.

And his head remained bowed low
Depressed, oppressed, worn-out.
His behavior was so rare.

Nothing new and meds the same.
Humbled, jumbled, confused.
Was there something he should share?

"I just buried her last week.”
Tearful, fearful, grieving.
I watch his helpless despair.

I hear about her illness.
Ailing, failing, wasting,
The time he bent for prayer.

Wondering when to call for help.
Chanting, panting, obscured
Something he could not repair.

She died quickly once she came.
Heaving, grieving, angry,
He didn’t get to prepare.

But her ghost came once after,
Cleaning, preening, lightly
To that he would always swear.

Now his cancer has come back,
Sneaky, cheeky, corrupt.
And he doesn’t want to care.


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Current Oncology , VOLUME 20 , NUMBER 5 , OCTOBER 2013


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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)