She traced her scars with weary fingertips
stories of battles engraved into skin
a dull aching inside of her body
from the wounds buried deep within
grief and triumph and blistering heartache
molded into bones like clay
losses etched into the shelves of her mind
they never really went away.
But she felt gratitude
even, for the loss of the lovers, for the lives, the friends, the connections,
for her mother.
A fire burned inside of her flesh,
surging into her lungs, her bones, her chest.
She swam through rivers permeating with fears
a thousand tears.
She ached for the mother that had carried her around,
she cried for that lover who had let her down
but how free—to let her body be weak
to be ripped wide open
to let salt water sting her cheeks.
She was alive
learning how to swim and how to survive
seeking light from within darkened caves
She let the stars fall down on her,
she let the smoky fire seep
let the flames swirl inside her blood
she put yesterday to sleep.
Thunderstorms and yellow sunshine
milky clouds and rain.
She found pain amidst the healing.
She found healing amidst the pain.
Michelle Fredman is 23 years old. She was born in Cape Town and grew up in both London and Cape Town. She is a third year student at UCT studying Media and Writing and English literature. She is passionate about writing, poetry, nature, yoga, surfing, travelling the world and children. In December 2015 she was diagnosed with Lymphatic cancer. Her diagnosis and journey to recovery have drastically transformed the way she views the world and herself. As a writer/poet it has inspired a collection of works all surrounding the topics of inner turmoil, transformation, the value of pain and the power to be found within tough experiences.