We are proud to share the work of our community writers here on our blog, including this piece, which is part of a series entitled Fresh Ink.
We value the voices of our community members and would love to share your words. If you would like to contribute to our blog here at Cactus Cancer Society, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continuation by Jess Skyleson
And there it is again, your voice in my mind, or, rather, my voice
but speaking your words, the ones I never found a way to say
to myself, gentle reassurances and reminders that everything
is going to be ok, no matter what happens, that you are here,
that you care. Only you aren’t here, not in the way I got so used
to you being, a constant, quiet presence in the background of my life,
like the worn quilt on the back of the couch, a comfort never questioned,
never even remarked upon, always there. A presence only noted by its sudden absence.
But now, hearing the you
that still lives on in me, I know the ending isn’t really an absence after all,
just another way of being together, a way of invisibly
still being seen.
Jess Skyleson (they/them) is a former aerospace engineer who began writing poetry through Cactus Cancer Society programs, after being diagnosed with stage IV cancer at age 39. Now pursuing an MFA in Digital+Media at Rhode Island School of Design, they were awarded the 2022 Hippocrates Poetry and Medicine Prize, an Honorable Mention in the Tor House Poetry Prize, and were a finalist for the Yemassee Poetry Prize and Kalanithi Writing Award. Their work has appeared in journals and anthologies throughout the US and UK.