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Fresh Ink: My Body: A List

A large house sits at the top of a hill, with a long sidewalk leading to its door. There are two smaller buildings in the same style on either side and leaves on the ground.

In Unspoken Ink, one of our most popular programs here at Cactus Cancer Society, our participants write in response to prompts, ranging from pictures to quotes to poetry. We are proud to share the work of our 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 

My Body: A List by Katey Girard

I am held upright by book spines and old fence posts. 

My flesh is an old patchwork quilt, stitched together on my sewing machine,

Pressed and warmed on my grandmother’s ironing board 

The cobwebs that knit me together are riddled with questions and answers paired like mismatched socks. 

The empty spaces are all full this way, everything with it’s own gravity. 

There are cats sunning themselves in windowlight

A pair of rusty scissors

A tiny plastic soldier half-submerged in a mud pie

A hangnail, a scar, a scrap of paper with the word “hope” written in cursive

I am heavy with memories, woven through with enough curiosity to keep my eyes open.

You can’t shine a flashlight on me and see all that, 

But there is a candle that might burn it all down, and

you see the ghosts of it when you look me in the eye. 

I am my own haunted home.

Katey Girard has so far survived breast cancer and teaching high school English for 10 years. She lives in Missouri with her husband and two adorable cats. You can find her on Instagram at @kgirardreads.