By Lu Pierro
A doctor’s visit delayed
until nothing was 3 centimeters round,
The diagnosis: the C word.
A word we couldn’t say,
a word that caught in our throat
filling us with phlegm- like dread.
And so we entered a new country
with a new language.
Words like carcinoma, hematology
and dysplasia became as common as say
hair and blood and nausea.
We became a cluster,
a coterie shrouded in scarves,
We joined the Church of Miracles
taking our plastic lazy boy seats
with our fellow supplicants
in the oncology ward.
Each had their own bottle of salvation
that dripped hope and despair
in the same vein.
For you, there was no redemption.
When the flesh loosened from your bones
and your teeth shone like alabaster tombs,
I knew the gateway had opened.
The time had come for you to shatter
Author’s Note: My father, George Bisignano suffered from mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the lungs. Despite choosing no chemo, no radiation, the bills were astronomical, and continue to arrive like enveloped white ghosts.
A recipient of the Dodge Foundation and the Dorothy E. Laurence Scholarship, Lu Pierro has published work in numerous small press publications including Blast Furnace and Three and a Half.9. She studied English at Douglass College and creative writing at Warren Community College. Lu lives in bucolic Hunterdon County with her husband John and her non-alcoholic cat, Tipsy. She is the author of The Royal Rumpus and the March of the Pink Hats.
To learn more about mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos, please click here.