Silence Over Coffee

If instead,
I told you I had a cancer
would you still sit,
biding your time,
waiting for me to heal?
Would life carry on
in your view of us
as each day my body
was divided, conquered,
one weakened cell after another?

If instead,
I could show you spots
or unnatural shadows
on an X-ray film and say
here and here and here
that is where it is,
that is where I am slowly dying,
would you still simply
pat me on the head
and say “Now, now”?

But I can’t
fix my trembling finger
on a single point to tell you
this is where it hurts
and it’s not my fault
I’ve no black and white image
to prove
I’m being devoured slowly,
painfully being consumed
by my dis-ease.

And while what you say
may be true,
that “this too shall pass,”
any remission just means dormancy.
I must tell you
the fiercest storms
gather strength while resting
and nature’s cycles
prey on weakness,
they are meant to destroy first
and then, perhaps, rebuild.

For now we both sit
quietly sipping our morning coffee
you: appearing burdened
by my malaise
my dis-order,
me: feeling alone.

This was graciously first published by “The Healing Muse” in Fall, 2011.

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Comments (10)

  1. Ginette


    I know this. This is my Husband and I. How I wish there were x-rays I could show him!
    Thank you….xoxo

  2. Reply

    I understand the cancer is a metaphor for the dis-ease in the relationship but can’t believe I just read this after having returned from having coffee with my friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer last week. Synchronicity.

    Beautiful and touching poem. Thank you for sharing your pain so that we might grow from it.

  3. Kathleen


    In the fall of 2011 when he felt alone and succumbed to that dis- ease I was unburdened ..and today the summer of my 5th year without him..I am alone and aching from the continued release of the ” burden”

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