What colour is cancer?
Not the colour of cheerful ribbons.
Not the pink of awareness,
or fun-run t-shirts, or a
decorative brooch.

The colour of cancer is blood red to me,
the kind of red that makes my
stomach flip over.
Red trespassing where it isn’t
supposed to be. The white walls
of the disinfected hospital.
The white of my mother’s tissue.
The pastel pattern of a gaping surgical gown.
The colour of a sleepless night, of shadows
morphing into hallucinations.
The blinding light of sunshine intruding
through curtains opened at 8am sharp.
The deep shining orange-red of
my insides. The dark green of
bile. The non-colour of cardboard
sick bowls and bed pans.
The colour of thick, opaque days
I couldn’t see past. The colours I see now
when I turn around.
Crumbling brown soil on my brother’s grave.
The darkest thoughts of my own resting place.
The ugliest palette.