Cancer is What Kills Us [Poetry]

by Jacqueline Markowski

when nothing else does, bastardizing
its defining characteristic: renegade cells
refuse to lie down and die. We almost have
it figured out, this crazy, sticky, stubborn
universe. We have created
enough science to compare and contrast
all things to physics: symphonies,
time machines, free falling
from the edge of immediacy
(and surviving!) From the seam
we are the center, all things move
away from us. We sew words
into ideas, ideas into
parachutes. Our unceasing need
to characterize transforms us.
We are robots. Cancer is what kills
robots when nothing else does.


Jacqueline Markowski’s work has most recently appeared in San Pedro River ReviewBird’s Thumb, The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review,Rust+Moth, Red Paint Hill Quarterly, S/tick, Emerge Literary Journal, The Knicknackery and is forthcoming in Up the Staircase Quarterly and Turtle Island Quarterly. Nominated twice for the Pushcart, she won first place at The Sandhills Writer’s Conference, was a semi-finalist for the 2014 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize and a finalist for Sundog Lit’s 2015 contest series. She is currently working on a collection of poetry. You can see more of her work at