The Word

My mother can’t say the word.
Her generation calls it the “Big C.”
She looks at me and tells me
“You can’t be that well.
You’re only putting the good side out.”
“I am well, look at me.”
I smile, hold out
my summer frock
and twirl around
in the way she used to ask me as a child whilst trying on an outfit
she had made for me.
“Are you really?” she ventures softly.
My sister says
“It’s everywhere now
what happens if I get it?”

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