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I read the newspaper's horoscope


at the breakfast table between my coffee


and husband. He says, read me


the sign of Cancer, but we are both


Leos-strong. Strong enough


to laugh at cancer. Diagnosis day three.


First came the lump, like the kind I now find


stuck in the back of my throat from tears,


except his was in the armpit. Felt funny.


He found it while shaving. I found it


when I curled into him under the sheets.


I yelled because he hadn't told me.


Second and third, diagnosis and treatment.


We're not laughing after a month, out of fear


not reading the horoscope or talking between coffee.


When I reach for his hand, it's gone,


clasped in his lap, away from me.


It's on my skin, he says. Everywhere


in my body, and on my skin most of all.


What if it's contagious? How can I tell


him I love him even so? I wait, and he cannot


walk. I wait, and he cannot feed himself. I wait,


and we have hospice, and his body is heaving black


growths. In his muscles and his lymph. Everywhere.


Last, I kiss him,


his mouth and his skin


and his cancer most of all.


I wish I could love even that.


-Sophia Valesca Gorgens, MD Candidate


Emory University School of Medicine