To Cure a Thing

After Jenny Qi’s “Two Cures"

To Cure a Thing
Photo by National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

by Alex Carrigan

To cure a thing is to remove it from time.
X-rays become frames cut out of a film strip.

             A film strip of your chemo progression is
             burned in a studio fire and considered lost.

The illness is considered lost when you can’t remember
if a number referred to your cell count or the world’s population.

             The population will forget the illness when it becomes a
             ghost story, a reminder of when we felt our most alone.

We felt alone when we heard the diagnosis, like it
would replace our names on all of our documents.

             Our documents become covered in blacked out text when
             you finally are able to correct them with other memories.

Your other memories are without that looming dread, for
to cure a thing is to remove it from time.

Alex Carrigan (he/him) is a Pushcart-nominated editor, poet, and critic from Alexandria, Virginia. He is the author of Now Let’s Get Brunch: A Collection of RuPaul’s Drag Race Twitter Poetry (Querencia Press, 2023) and May All Our Pain Be Champagne: A Collection of Real Housewives Twitter Poetry (Alien Buddha Press, 2022). He has had fiction, poetry, and literary reviews published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lambda Literary Review, Barrelhouse, Sage Cigarettes (Best of the Net Nominee, 2023), Stories About Penises (Guts Publishing, 2019), and more. For more information, visit or on Twitter @carriganak.