It was 7 pm, Day 1

Genetic mutation, they said

Along with a bunch of medical words, foreign to me

The news was worse than the pain

That was cancer


It was 12:01 am, Day 2

There was crying in the next room

I still didn’t fully understand

I wanted it to stop, to end

That was cancer


It was 2:59 pm, Day 17

It was my last day in school

All eyes were on me

I wished they’d look away

That was cancer        


It was 3 am, Day 56

I couldn’t breathe

My head was pounding

Something was wrong

That was cancer


It was 5 pm, Day 158

I’d been in and out of the hospital

I was so worn out

They called it a battle and I’d lost

That was cancer


It’s 12 am, Day 397

I’m tired and staring up at the lights

Mellowed by meds, I can barely feel

I can barely remember my body’s betrayal

This is cancer


This is it

This is my last day

This is my final battle

It’s surrender

This is cancer.

Jamie Ryu

Originally published in the 2013-2014 edition of Outside In.