I was once afraid of Death.
Before we’d met.
But, now, we know each other well.

We’ve walked together.
We have danced.
And, no, Death has not always led.

And when we arm wrestled
Sometimes, you let me win…
At least for a while.

I thought we had an understanding.

And, then, you
entered my childhood home.

I saw you meet and strike,
And walk away
With the man who cradled me when I was born.

I have been angry.
I have been sad.

Some days each step
Seems more than I could bear.

Until I remembered–
I remembered, Papi, what you used to say.

Words imprinted
In my childhood ear,

          “Live each day
          With the wonder of your first.

          Live each day
          As if it were your last.”

The steps–


          filled with Life.

Shall we dance?

Ana Maria Lopez

Ana Maria Lopez is an integrative medical oncologist who seeks to improve quality of life for each patient wherever they are in the cancer experience.