waves: blacklight

photo cred: me. in my apartment with my partner.

{trigger warning: childhood illness}

this whole year has brought about many hours of reflection for me and my life. one thing i’ve been thinking about a lot and trying to process is my experience as a cancer survivor. i was diagnosed with stage 4 hodgkin’s lymphoma at 16 years old (my junior year of high school). while i’m in remission now, the trauma i have tied to that experience is something that comes up again and again — especially during something as stressful as a global pandemic. the precautions i take to protect myself and others from the virus (like wearing masks, washing my hands often, disinfecting everything i come in contact with) feels eerily similar to the precautions i had to take while protecting myself from infections while being treated with chemotherapy and radiation.

i don’t talk much about my experiences, and part of the reason for that is because, well, it isn’t pretty. having cancer, being treated for it, fearing that it will come back, and having a deadly virus going around that only intensifies my anxiety isn’t something i can talk about in a few minutes or hours and be done with. i think about it all the time. and i take the pandemic very seriously mostly because of my fears.

i just wanted to let anyone who is struggling with processing or navigating this pandemic know that they are not alone, and things REALLY suck at the moment and it’s okay to acknowledge that. it’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to fear the uncertain future ahead of all of us. it’s okay to talk through your feelings with people you love andcare about, including yourself. this poem, ‘blacklight’, is one of my many attempts to do so. fun fact: this is a contrapuntal poem, which means that it can be read in at least two different ways 😉



that moment when you look                                                                            your eyes don’t adjust to the darkness

        it’s just dark                                                                                                             and thick wet black

        and i tell everyone i know it’s just my shadow                                          it’s just the back of the throat, i say

        and they believe me                                                                                           and no one asks further questions

        but i’ve been trying to figure out,                                                                                  like,



how do i come to terms with the tumors growing in my body?

how long have they been there?

was there a such thing as light before the universe?

did darkness come from a wounded womb?

has anyone found its keyholed belly?





detroit born & raised sophomore, non-binary, driven by the arts. 'waves' is being created so that its creator and (hopefully) readers may learn how to cope with- and navigate through a global pandemic together. check out my website www.smittycommittee.com

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2 Comments on "waves: blacklight"

2 years 7 months ago

thank you for sharing this experience— and this poem! Never heard of that kind of poem before.