Beyond the Hat
Madeleine Alston
During Treatment

You look at me
and you ask
What happened?
I tell you
and you look again.
Do you see my scars?
my leg?
my crutch?
my cancer?
Do you take one step back
without thinking?
Are you pitying,
or afraid?
Look closer.
Past the crutch,
past the disease,
see the person.
So much more 
than what you see--
A disease with a hat.
I love
I laugh
I despair
I sing
I talk
I fear
and I cry sometimes.
Just like you.

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004