by Shannon Marie Williams

Some words are ticklish: mercurial,
viscous.  The weight of a void is not conveyed
in four, or any number
of symbols—not the fear it radiates.
I want it
sucked and smashed from speech—
a body of so many knots and cells so
wobbly and unsure, I marvel
it has yet to give
up on us.  Cancer,
speech: both insidious
and wormy.  They crack
open interiors we believed
impenetrable then slide
inside, even after we thought them
dead.  And if you are
not convinced they are
some part of you, they
will sleep inside you
no less soundly.