Oct 7, 2005

The Power of the Boob

I. My Breasts

At 12, I slept on my back

Praying my nubs would grow

Afraid to squash them

Wore a training bra

Hoping to fill

With rounded signs

Of bountiful

And honored womanhood

To draw admiration

From lovers and friends.

Decades reshaped them

But still, ornaments at best.

Finally, the baby growing inside

Seemed to push them out

And demand much

On entrance.

We mammals begin with

How and where to suck.

Our most important first knowing,

The latch and draw—

Baby taught me.

Adornments then

Transformed to do

Real work.

This liquid love

I bring my baby

Each hour

Strength

Comfort

Protection

Joy.

The mightiness of the humble

Breast

As burping pillow

Love link

Serving succor

Always on

Always warm

Sweetness to sweetness given.

I love my baby through

A plumped bosom that

Plumps out

Her pudgy limbs and cheeks

Making her robust.

Her happy hunger

As she lunges for the boob

Afterward

Held fast and warm

To cushions of love.

II. My Mother’s Breasts

Death star molecules

The doctor calls to say

You’ve got

Cancer

I’ll pray for you.

Invaders in my mother’s breasts

The same breasts that

Did not suckle me

In the 60s, when formula

Was stylish—

Pierced now by a saber

Needle swooping in for a

Biopsy

Spearing some

Death star molecules.

Mom the queen

In her quivering strength

I had to talk to you, dear

I have cancer [horrible, resonating word]

Say a prayer for me [Mom, I pray for you with every thought]

17 years in remission

The cells regroup and win

Aided by

Hormone Replacement Therapy

The HRT that hurt

And made her doctor laugh

20 years ago

When I said it might lead to

Cancer.

You choose, Be masculine

Or Be feminine

With the help of a vile vial.

We’ve never done

A double-mastectomy

Before on someone your age.

At 81, what are breasts anyway?

Hindrances to seeing your new

Granddaughter grow up?

Off with their heads,

Ordered the queen.

I hugged her, months later

She wore a turtleneck

Lots of jewelry

No make-up

No prosthetics

Mom, you are my Life star.

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