Cancer too is a prize
You don’t have to queue at the newsagent’s
to buy a ticket
They slip it in with the teddy bear,
the beatrix potter china setting,
the first photograph album,
The final draw may be foreshadowed
in the missed stitch in the booties
put aside, only used at your Baptism.
(“It was her last pair. Do you think she knew?”)
Unlike the contents of your bowels
or your most recent projectile vomit,
it is not discussed in polite company.
It may stick its head around the corner at 3.30am,
pop into Dad’s thoughts as he tries to settle you
and sees his own mortality as he pictures his own father
rocking him 30 years ago,
and his grandfather walking the floor twenty years before that.
A link in the chain between first and last
Somewhere between the savannah and the heat death of the universe.
You can buy more tickets later on,
or be the lucky recipient of a random allocation.
Just like a five million dollar lottery.
You say you’ll keep working,
but you’ll find that you can’t.
Your colleagues no longer look at you,
well, not the same way.
Early retirement either way.
And lots of time to think.
In our illnesses, may we know that we are not alone, for everyone treads a version of this path.
May we know that we are loved along the way.