what is Cancer?

when we first found out

i remembered hearing my brother say

what is Cancer?

i remembered

a chorus of “oh”s

everywhere I went

i remembered struggling

searching for a definition for my brother


“Cancer is the disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body”


Cancer is the son of a bitch that wakes you up

by taking you to the curb and stomping on your head


Cancer turns the closest person in your life to a stranger


Cancer is spending time with someone you don’t have time for

because they’ve changed your definition of not having enough time


Cancer is getting a phone call your sophomore year

and hearing “they found a tumor in my liver”

after watching him bury his father

when they found a tumor in his brain


Cancer is death, Tucker

Cancer is hopelessness

Cancer is not leaving your bed for a week

and throwing up three times a day despite

not being the one with the Cancer


Cancer is everything you could possibly fear in life,

but until you can understand

fear is much scarier

when it appears on someone else’s face:


Cancer is curable,

And he’s almost out the other end

PoetryDylan Zucatipoetry, cancer, Dad