Science  Write  Now

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       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, 

                     your face 

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.