Jay Erickson, Partner, Health & Wellness Lead, Modus

BLOOM is an illustrated book of poetry with origins in Jay Erickson’s experience of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Welcome to the reading of poem #17.

Dear Cancer

why are you here?

what have I done?

whom did I wrong?

or do you come like the dust

that settles on the windowsill

with no agenda?

Dear Cancer,

you have to leave now

you have the wrong address,

bad data, error copying file

your work is done

let me show you to the door

Dear Cancer,

you have taught me so much

grown my heart even

as you have shrunk

shone a light across my life even

as you have been diminished by it

Dear Cancer,

have you met my doctor?

well, he knows you…

…watch your back Jack

Dear Cancer,

I respect you

I fear you

you are ancient

you are sly

but I will bend

and breathe and

enlist an army

of peaceful warriors

and I will not break

let yourself be carried

out in this tide of

white light and love

gathered to meet you

Dear Cancer,

f**k you

Dear Cancer,

be an emigrant of this body

there is no room for you here

Dear Cancer,

can you hear me?

Dear Cancer,

what are you?

you are of me, from me

yet you invade me

are you a random number

expressing yourself itself

are you a midwife

come to bring some newness forth?

are you the crack in the sky

I heard when i was young?

are you grief made manifest?

or a weight balancing some

unknown measure?

are you a lesson, a message, a dream,

a phantom, a nudge, a regime,

a fire, a flood, a call,

an evil, a consequence, an invitation,

an ending, a beginning?

Dear Cancer,

get your goddamn hands

off of Maria and my other

chemo buddies

Dear Cancer,

you are packing your bags

and finding your way out

no need to write back

I don’t want to distract

you any more


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