On Cancer

Susan B.A. Somers-Willett

I have decided 
that my life is her

dare. One that I shout
fuck against in this 

thawing month that weeps
like a wet corner

of bread, stupid
flesh that I am 

decided to fail. Who 
am I to press a mark 

on something that 
tired? Instead, 

I have decided
the bearded irises 

stiffening in my 
engagement vase

make a better image 
for you: this starred opaline

glass and the plum-
and-yellow strike of their

throats opening.
Let me suggest
their crinoline 
gesture in the kitchen 

might recall my 
dancing, all trick hip 

and funk, and not
the calcium stomp

of this other woman 
whose name

I have just learned
to pronounce, this 

woman who ripples 
beside me, sweating

and close, shifting 
in her steel-

pin stilettos 
and harnessed in 

her best 
black dress.