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by Micaela Walley


When you told me he had cancer

and I said Okay

what I meant to say was 76 seems

so far away from 100

and he is supposed to live

until 100

because that seems like a fair exchange

for a life of cleaning swimming pools

and mowing lawns for rich people. What I mean is

I can’t say I’m sorry

because that doesn’t exactly make sense.

Sorry seems like a band-aid, and you don’t

put a band-aid on cancer. You nuke that shit

of the body, and as much as I’d like to pretend

that words are nuclear, they so often fall

shorter than the task at hand.

Like rectal cancer.

What could be taller than that?

What I mean is what could be worse

than having to acknowledge that you live in a body,

having to write it a thank you note

at the end of each day? What is there

to be grateful for when someone you love

is in pain? How can someone

like a doctor not prescribe hope

to a dying old man

like he will not, at some point, be a dying

old man—mouth open wide, back against the void

chewing at anything that could potentially be digested

into something like, “yes, there is plenty of time.”


Micaeala Walley

Micaela Walley is a recent graduate from the University of South Alabama where she majored in Creative Writing. Her work can be found in Occulum, K'in Literary, and Oracle Fine Arts Review. She currently lives in Hanover, Maryland, with her best friend--Chunky, the cat.

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