On Homage & the Body
Who knows what compelled me to answer my
father’s call. His tumor resurfacing like the past.
Ghosts solidifying. In many ways, there was an
us. Cells cycling into
sameness of our collarbones, soft lung linings,
in the rearview mirror / every mirror.
Any longer I evaded your calls, the doctor said,
the prognosis could have been worsened. This
uttered in fewer, kinder words. A gift you do not have.
Instead, you said nothing as I cradled the phone.
Shared understanding not spoken but
shimmering between static, peeling untold truths and steady
omissions taking shape. The way I assumed
my cells were as they readied themselves to invade
my body, make it home.
The science inspiring the piece:
In many ways, our genetics with cellular and molecular underpinnings are as complicated as the relationships around us. This idea was one that I hoped to explore through my poem inspired by my time working with oncology patients in the clinic. The stories they told of their family history were varied and foundational to how they viewed their disease, label as patients, and their own relationships around them.