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  • amylynnhardy22

A tiny part

Updated: Jan 22

A poem about watching my father succumb to cancer. It is raw and true and everything I kept feeling as I watched him get sicker and sicker.

A tiny part

No one ever seems to mention the way it feels when a parent is dying.

As if the very roots that hold you to your identity,

Those very roots that have always been your constant

Grow sinewy and stretch more than you could ever imagine them stretching

Snapping apart from the world you used to know one-by-one like taut guitar strings

Struggling to clutch, but failing

No one ever seems to mention

The horror of watching a human being waste away

The bones that begin to protrude through yellowing skin

The absolute blankness of the eyes that focus on you

The spots and bruises and messes

The dignity that flails and relents

The power that runs out and sluggishly

Just gives up

No one ever seems to mention

How family, in times of panic,

metamorphose into people you don’t know

Their grief, so real and so grotesque,

Becomes them—transforms them into strangers

You can no longer turn to them because

They, yes, even they, are unable to fathom

Your pain on top of their pain, like a cup running over

The new distance is desperate, shattering, unfathomable,

And you can never run fast enough

to close it in.

No one ever seems to mention

The impenetrable hopelessness of disease

With its gripping black claws

and strangulating poisonous vines

That wheedle the mind as well, insidiously

All encompassing

All encompassing

Descending into a darkness—

an in-between layer of reality

You never can know: is he here? Is he here?

When will death show himself?

Sometimes, he makes you beg.

Perhaps it is all too

horrible to mention

And that’s why

no one ever does

Because when

death comes

for one

He also


a tiny

part of


And of










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