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"Pre-Existing Condition" by Dylan Garcia

Society has always made a joke

out of people like me.

Don’t eat that.

You’ll get the diabetes.

That candy was so sweet

I can feel the diabetes coming on.

To some, my life will be nothing but a cautionary tale.

About having cake and eating it

with blood pooling at fingertips.

They will scrutinize my choices and mistakes

as if the killer living inside me

stripped me of my humanity.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness in this country

is like being issued a clock counting down the minutes

until you wake up in the back of an ambulance

you can’t afford to pay for.

Diabetes brings me to the table

but denies me any food.

People around me indulge,

then glance over at me,

their mouths so full of pity

they can’t help but frown.

According to the CDC

there were 399,401 death certificates

with diabetes listed as the underlying

or contributing cause of death in 2021.

I don’t want to be a statistic,

but I know this disease and its cruel games.

Let this body of mine and its ever-surviving

sing me praises when I am gone.

Play ambulance wail at my funeral.

Sing my doctor’s name like a dirge.

Then I ask you to go home, eat cake,

and be grateful for the sweet taste

it leaves on your tongue.

 Dylan Garcia (they/them) is a Best Of The Net nominated poet. They have an extensive competitive poetry history which includes appearances at the National Poetry Slam and the Individual World Poetry Slam. The second edition of their chapbook Not Every Word A Fist was published in 2022, and their second chapbook Love Loss is forthcoming in 2024. They can be found online as Dylan Garcia Poetry.

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