Author’s note: this was written while my beloved mother was in the depths of chemotherapy, a punishing treatment for a punishing disease. Her outlook, progress, and my own have come a long way since then, and we find ourselves in better spirits. Hope abounds as the journey continues, but any light, love, and healing energy you could send her would be deeply appreciated.

My mom has cancer
Say it
Over and over again
I can’t breathe
Stop saying it
I couldn’t sleep
When she told me
I didn’t want to
For fear
She’d be gone
And I’d be sleeping
And because
I’m scared of my dreams
Of what my soul and spirit feel
If my brain will let them
Now I sleep constantly
Hiding in it
Tired from the grief
The fear
But when I wake
I punish myself
My mom has cancer
Her sleep is restless
Covered in sickness
I want to take it off her body
Put it in me
So she doesn’t have to suffer
Her indifference to the world
Is her struggling
My mom has cancer
And though life seemed full
That was all there was