timer 5 mins
For the background to this poem and how Tamsin embraced poetry, have a read of her post here.
Fragments by Tamsin
I don’t know when we first met
there was no warning of your approach
no-one whispered the words: “he’s coming,”
how is it that I didn’t notice your arrival?
I only remember tracing the outline of you with my fingertips
I only remember the sensation of you on my skin
and now here we are all these years later
I have tried so hard not to think about you
I have tried so hard to forget
you are an unwelcome visitor,
sitting, waiting patiently for me in a room which I dare not enter
you are a raging fire
sometimes you can be beaten back
sometimes you devour everything in your path
you burned away everything I believed in
and all the certainties which I held as truths
and now because of you I am broken
and now because of you I am fragments
you think that I’m afraid of you, don’t you?
you think that I’m in your thrall
don’t misjudge my acceptance of you as a sign of weakness
don’t mistake my quiet resignation for surrender
I can look you in the eye now
see the scars you left behind,
fractures too fine to mend with molten gold
by the art of kintsugi
I am a kaleidoscope of flaws
countless pieces of coloured glass in motion
a murmuration of butterflies
I am patterns unbecoming and becoming,
an endless constellation of bright wings in flight
Tamsin is a social worker living with her family in South London. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 in 2009 and again in 2012. A soft-touch mother and manager, she is learning to live with the long-term effects of breast cancer, including lymphoedema in her right hand and both arms. Tamsin is a would-be writer and reluctant blogger who pens occasional pieces to challenge the ‘single story’ about breast cancer and to raise greater awareness of the enduring emotional and psychological impact of cancer.
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