83 | Cancer Poem

Dan and his wife had an apartment in downtown NYC when 9/11 occurred. 14 years later, both he and his wife were diagnosed with cancer one after the other. Dan chronicles this painful experience in his own personal poetry collection. IHadCancer has received permission to publish one of these poems for our community, we hope you resonate with his words.  


In the vision
our child is
a woman

gazing across
a cozy table
at me

some locale
holy to us
like Carmel

sometime sleepy
like mid-
afternoon in this

courtyard with leaves
glinting the season
shouldn’t matter

but it does
matter that
I am being

looked after
with quizzical
aggravation and

I am certain
I am pleased

she contains
our features

her hair like
her mother’s
copper curling

like my hair
used to like
our allusive

foundering on
the mundane

Her mother
with any luck is
running late

Our daughter
wears a dress of
Marian blue

a healer
from birth
she is why

we are here
simply sharing
a meal


This poem & others can be found in Our Cancers: A Chronicle in Poems by Dan O'Brien (Acre Press, 2021). Photo courtesy of author.