Breast Cancer at the Beach


from where does cancer come anyway?
my plump funny mother says,
in diet coke, coffee, and mcdonald’s hamburgers.
why does it keep living then when you stop feeding it?
why is it the more it lives, the more she starts to die?
i am questions.  i am eight.
the world is pink-toned, the skies
squint with me in this lazy afternoon sunshine.
i am not old, and am covered with pale child’s skin like hers was, i wonder
am i also baby’s skin in white fuzz and rocks
growing underneath?
your hair is bunny soft – she says – as her ifngers
Play in the hairs against my cheek
and laughs, she closes her eyes, into my hair
two shades darker than hers.
my mother is amused.  Her eyes
lower to meet my wide black ones.
he said sometimes the hair grows back in a darker color, she says, hah,
maybe this time around I will be a brunette, and smiles;
they say brunettes get a better deal in life.

Katy Hsaio, Class of 2002