I Hate You

For fourteen years I believed maybe
you had changed.
I clung to the hope you’d finally chosen to leave her alone.
Little did I know
You lurked in the corner at every family gathering,
Every Wednesday afternoon, watching cartoons,
Cheating your way through the Game of Life.
You hovered over her with your
invisible cloak and you cackled
at my naive mind.
You stole from her everything
She had to give, you stole all the hair
On her beautiful head, you took
Nearly every ounce of strength she possessed
but I believed, oh how I believed
that she would make it through,
How could someone remove my Nana, the
purest soul in the room?
But you did. She did her best,
but you laughed at her behind our backs
because you knew.
You knew that, in the summer of ‘22
you would strip her of everything and
erase her from our lives in just 3 days time.
How can you do this without being flooded with regret?
Can you, honestly, creep around in so many
bodies without ever questioning if this is wrong?
How can you tear apart families
and cause millions to grieve
but never extend your apology?
How can you wreak havoc on lives,
staple them to their beds?
You are a murderer, a skilled destroyer;
You didn’t just make her bleed, you made us all
gush of blood. We are beyond repair.
We will sob and we will hate you for as long as we live
because you were somehow given the power to pick us all up and set us on our heads.
Dear Cancer, I didn’t want you to reign victorious.
She so badly wanted to declare you a loser,
And she wrestled with you until she could hardly move.
You didn’t let her see me when I promoted from junior high,
I don’t even think she knew it was June 29th
Because of you. Because of you,
a four-year-old learned what death is
and three sisters, one brother, their father were left
to grieve of their mother, their glue, and their rock.
Because of you, on December 16th we don’t toast to
Another year of beating you, we celebrate a woman
We never wanted to say goodbye to
I hate you. Dear Cancer, I will hate you
until I die, and I will despise you for all the lives
you have escorted to their graves
and I will hate you for taking a girl and
making her a young woman and I will hate you
for this hole in my heart, because you shoveled it.
I will hate you for taking away my Wednesdays,
for removing happy memories from a home
I cannot visit anymore.
Dear Cancer, I will hate you because hospice nurses intruded my
quality time and her bright bedroom
became a dreary place where death itself remained.
Dear Cancer, I will hate you for turning her home into an infirmary,
for making me tremble at oxygen masks and hospital beds…
and you. Dear Cancer, I am scared because I’ve seen
what you can do. I am terrified because you snatch those who
don’t deserve it, and I’m not nearly as good as them
so shouldn’t you be able to take me too?
Dear Cancer, I hate you because you tempted us with time
And tried to take her life twice.
Dear Cancer, I hate you because my tears have created tracks
And trails upon my tired face.
Dear Cancer, I hate you because you are silent until you are not,
until you are hidden within beeps and within weeps,
playing an anthem as you make a perfect layup with death.
Dear Cancer, I hate you because every holiday is not the same
and I’ve made so many coffee cakes but they don’t taste okay
without her colorful plates.
Dear Cancer, I hate you because I struggle
to recall the way her voice sounded
and I wonder what advice she would’ve given me
that might have saved my life.
Dear Cancer, I hate you because I never got to say
every word I have thought of since she passed away.
Dear Cancer, I always told her that I loved her but
I’m so afraid that because of you, she never knew
the ways she shaped me.
Dear Cancer, you’ve changed too many lives
and caused too many people I love
to shed too many tears.
Dear Cancer, I’ll never see you face to face
but if I did I would say
“Dear Cancer, I hate you.
Dear Cancer, I’m rooting against you.
I hope you never win again.”

--Kate G., 9th-12th Grade