Caitlin Krahn | Bring Me Back

It starts with a whirlwind of doctor jargon that makes me think

it’s done before it’s even begun—this crash course in surviving that will

either save me fast or leave me trashed—dashed on the rocks below the cliff

cancer has flung me from, informing me too late I’d better learn to fly

if I want to make it out alive.

The doctor goes on and on like I’m five and he’s prepping me for the dive

into puberty all over again–I beg my mind to find bricks strong enough to wall out

his words—but they sneak in all the same seeking the fame of being named the bane of

my existence, slithering through every crack in my resistance until the world goes

black though I haven’t closed my eyes and I know there’s no way I’ll ever find

my way back to who I was before this doctor told me

I’m going to die.

He doesn’t say it so neatly—he candy-coats the lies beneath the jargon disguise, and I’m

sick of it. Can’t he see I’m sick enough already?


It takes meeting you before the world realigns

redrawing the lines between

chaos and peace, faith and disbelief.

I fall for you like leukemia’s fallen for me,

with your eyes like the greenest grass, you won me over fast—

setting me free to believe I can achieve

my wildest dreams once again.


But sometimes I get caught up, sometimes I get scared and the despair sets my blood

ablaze and for days the rage is blinding, the fear is binding and I’m not so much breathing

as drowning, living as dying, and in those moments everything blurs, stirring bedlam into

being, and I’m just trying to be a fighter, a survivor, to stay afloat to be brave to hold on

to be strong to endure to be sure I can breathe and believe and be here.

Then, when I know I can’t do it anymore, when I know I’m going to die, when it all gets

to be too much and I’m shredded at the seams and I want to scream and rip the sheets to

let off steam, when I want to punch the nurse in the face so she can wipe that stupid smile

off her face and know for once what it’s like to hurt like I’m hurting because my body

is being bombed from the inside out and I’m buried beneath the rubble doubled by the

wreckage of a life that’s been wasted beneath the knife of a disease without heart looking

to steal mine to appease its starving greed—I want to shriek that it can have it, I’m done,

that’s it, let the world go black, it’s over, it’s won—


but you bring me back.

your hands catch mine

your eyes promise me time

and your smile borrows the sunshine

long enough to soothe the pain

ease the strain


keep me sane

and convince me

for one perfect moment

that the reason I’m feeling so lightheaded

so dizzy I can’t even see

is not because of the disease raging through me

but rather because of

the way you kiss me.


To watch a video of Caitlin reading this poem, visit the multimedia section. 


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