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Poetry
Lately

"Lately" - 10/5/19

lately I have felt challenged
by the language
around Cancer
 
people mean so well, they congratulate you on winning
"the fight" they assure you are an inspiration because 
you "won the battle"
 
they send you gifts because they care but they also
may include zingers like "glad you didn't give up"
"happy you're still with us" and even
 
"can't imagine this world without you"
all compassionate, all well-meaning, all
natural, human responses to fear
 
most arresting this week has been someone
who meant so well deeming my cancer experience
a "tragedy". If what I went through was so tragic
 
why am I still alive? why with every fibre of my being
do I feel irritated by the tendency toward drama-sympathy
mourning-possible-death grieving-almost-lost-breath
 
I take all of this as a great, wondrous sign
that I have not lost one ounce of vigor
but rather am the same stubborn New Yorker
 
I always hoped I'd grow up to be
no sympathy for my vulnerability please
no congratulations for my overcoming adversity
 
freezing cold weather awaits us all
none of us gets out of here eternal
what shapes a life is not bad luck
 
we will all encounter our fair share of misfortune
but one thing I know is I have been graced
with an incredible amount of pluck
 
so well-meaning or not, I reject your tragic
description and offer instead this subscription:
shut your eyes focus on your breath and celebrate!