For Ashley

From a heavy and broken heart in Africa,

Sad news made its way to America

My heart sank as I read Ashley’s email,

Informing me that her dad is not feeling well

An unwelcome visitor made his way into his body,

Goes by the name cancer,

It’s a death sentence in my country.

How do you cope with no hope? No chemotherapy and no radiation.

If you can afford the treatment, go to another nation.

A huge family to take care of, a thought I couldn’t get out of my head.

The last place any breadwinner would want to be is a hospital bed.

Stricken by an incurable disease, almost dreaded like Aids,

Entertaining hopelessness was not going to be our case.

I told Ashley that the battle we were about to fight

We had to use a weapon known as our mind

Faith will be at the forefront of the battlefield

With friends, family and God, abridge of hope we will build

We believed, we cried, we hoped, and prayed together

Months had gone by since he’d been under the weather

Hospital visits and surgeries undoubtedly are taking a toll

On your family, your life, the bills just won’t go

Ashley, I understand, I’ve worn those shoes before

I asked my sister over there to also give you a call

To let you know that you and your family are not alone

She skipped class the following day, I can’t call that a heart of stone

It brought a smile on my face when you said your dad liked the flowers

And the card she got him, she was sad she stayed for less than an hour

The nurse told her to leave; she wished she could stay for long

I spoke to your mum; she said she is trying to be strong

Fear and sadness are just a few of the emotions I heard in her voice

A risky operation on your dad, the doctors are awaiting her choice

So many mouths to feed, there’s barely food on the table

The man she’s loved for years has been reduced to a vegetable

No trace of mercy can be found in cancer

Spreading internally refusing to be stopped

If you were a person, I’d ask you; how many lives have you robbed?

A flash of hope came when your dad got discharged

Only to be dimmed by that after midnight emergency visit

We hang on to the faith we have left but the light would not be lit

I was at Sam’s club getting some stuff for a picnic

When I got your message which I struggled to believe

I could not accept the fact that he was gone

I called but obviously you were in no shape to pick up your phone

Ashley, if I had wings I’d fly to be there with you

June 30 happens to be a painful day we can’t undo

I love you deeply Ashley and my love can’t be measured

Through thick and thin, may this always be what we’ll treasure

It was never goodbye that day; I know you’re a believer

Take heart because it was just see you later

For everything cancer has put you and millions of people through

Here I am still hoping that one day we’ll find a guaranteed cure

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