- Pulse - https://pulsevoices.org -

This Is How You Cope With Cancer

Bleach your hair,

get drunk on champagne,

pretend the left and right halves of your face are the exact same,

ignore and deny it, laugh loudly–too loudly,

                        m a n i a c a l l y.

Tell the people who love you to stop asking after you,

snort tears up your nose and then down your throat,

take extra moments in bathroom stalls,

let the cool hand dryer blow in your eyes

water the plants so often that the house smells of mildew,

whisper Live! to the plants, and

Congratulations! to pregnant women.

Get bold–or brash, shake the champagne bottle before uncorking it,

Don’t listen when you don’t care to,

possibly, tell patients, your middle name is now “condom”

when they have unsafe sex, and

                  I  l o v e  y o u

when they are dying of liver failure.

Walk around town in your pajamas,

the red ones with stripes and radishes on them,

look people in the eyes,

ask for more money,

read your poems aloud to poets

drop your bagel on the hospital bathroom floor

and eat it anyway.