And suddenly just like that the appointment we have been dreading the most is here.

It is today.

And we are going back to that hellhole up the street

where they first found the mass

where the tech clicked her tongue

as she clicked the buttons on the computer

outlining and printing up this new life for me.


It’s only been six months since then but here we are

barely able to catch our breath

to clear our heads

to learn how to live this new life


and I’m back on this table


the gel this time smeared over the left breast

not the right,

not the bad one

but the good one

the one that has to be good.


And there they are on the screen

the black spots

looking at me like eyes

and I start to cry

not just cry

like the way the brave cry

but sob


until my arms go numb

and the tech

puts down the wand

tells me I need to calm down

that I can’t get upset until

there’s something to get upset about


and I want to tell her that we just finished

that I can’t do this over again

that I’m not this strong

that maybe no one is this strong


but instead it’s just shuddering breaths

and that’s when it hits me


I’m not afraid of cancer.

I’m not even afraid of dying

which is crazy because

it’s all I have been afraid of


but no,

right now

on this table

I’m afraid of living like this.


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Devine another poem

About Ally Malinenko

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone and How To Be An American (Six Gallery Press) as well as the novel This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books). Better Luck Next Year, a poetry collection is due out in Summer of 2016 through Low Ghost Press. She tweets @allymalinenko mostly about more Who
  24 months ago
powerful, hang in there
  25 months ago
Fear - so difficult to explain, quantify, describe .... you've captured it neatly here.
  25 months ago
Think living with the fear of the unknown is very difficult. I like how you have tackled this. Great poem.
  25 months ago
This is a brave poem, and you are a brave person.

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