During the Third Cycle of Chemo by Hannah Siobhan

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During the Third Cycle of Chemo

I dream of cells multiplying, traveling
from breast to lung to neck. They name

a cancer based on where it started, not
where it goes. Which is to say origins

are all that matter. Never mind the work
of cells metastasizing. The journey. The

voyage through blood and tissue. I picture
the cancer as a teenage mother holding a

college diploma. It doesn’t help, but it’s a
thought. Some things can’t be forgiven,

but understanding is close enough. We all
want to live. Then there are those of us

condemned for trying. Guilty until proven
silent. Named sickness, poisoned over

time. This is a fight we can relate to. We
have been told we are malignant; we want

to thrive anyway. We push from place to
place with curled fists. The cells are only

cells. The tumor is only doing its job. Maybe
the real enemy is our own fragile body,

or the way we loved life so hard, knowing
all along that it would come to this.

Hannah Siobhan

Hannah Siobhan is a high school senior currently living in Minnesota. She is a fan of Sandra Cisneros and every dog in the world. You can find more of her work in The Fem and the Glass Kite Anthology.