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by Charlie Altersitz

Inspiration image

Charlie, right, with his stepfather, Tom

If we pretend long enough,
Maybe it’ll just go away
Maybe we can wake up tomorrow morning
And laugh without the awkward tension
Maybe our jokes won’t come off the tongue
With nervous apprehension
Does it hurt to laugh?
Maybe I won’t say anything at all.

If we close our eyes,
Maybe the elephant in the room
Will get chased off by a mouse,
Or maybe it will choose to
Occupy someone else’s home.
We can clean up where it stayed
And go on with our lives,
Like it was a short-lived resident
In our guest bedroom.
No different.

Maybe we’re all looking at it the wrong way.
Maybe the “c” word we should be looking for
Is courage,
And we should do our best to wear it
On our sleeves, shirts, and hats
Like a baseball uniform of support.
And instead of wishing our elephant away,
We can stand up to the animal
And kindly ask it to move on.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Charlie Altersitz wrote “Maybe…” after his stepfather was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He resides in Philadelphia, PA.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2012.