"Cancer" is the third song of Tom Cipullo's song cycle Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House. The song cycle sets six poems of Billy Collins.
by Billy Collins
When you need to say the word,
it cowers in the back of your vocabulary
behind some outdated slang.
And if you try forcing it into the mouth
It lodges in the throat like a fishbone.
My father cannot say it yet.
The old man cannot even hear it.
He pretends I am saying "campfire."