Random cruelty

Her mouth

Had a tremor

Just beneath the surface

It spoke

Of the repression of horror

If she let it out

That creature would

Climb to the highest point

And start screaming, needful not of words.

She wrapped her arms around her chest

Feeling the absence of one breast

Her mom used to say

You forgot to grow into a woman, flat chested sparrow chick

Her boyfriend liked her angularity

It’s not very Latino, her sister decried

Shaking her own ample swelling bossom

She favored simple necklines and no bra, catching soft balls with callused hand

Then why she wondered

Did my breast betray me?

I never demanded anything of her

My children did not

Tug with hungry mouths on her unduly

Nor a lover, bite unkindly deep

She felt the tight, smooth scar

Like a flat knife lain on her chest, like unwanted medal

It seemed to hotly whisper

The curling, metal irony of us all

Without sufficient power to stave

Fate’s random cruelty

(For all women)

21 thoughts on “Random cruelty

  1. So many women in my extended family and friends have felt this urge to scream at the horror they endured although some did not endure at all. Thank you for remembering them and all those women who know first hand what that pink ribbon really represents.

  2. My pleasure. A very good person I know was recently stricken. I feel so much. It is an epidemic. Something must change but we need unbias research. Komen’s research is funded by drug companies, we need research that is unbiased and not based on developing drugs for profit. We need cures. 💓 thanks for reading.

  3. Your poem directly stabbed my heart, a beautiful ode, to all our loved ones who’ve suffered , won their battle, and sadly others who we’ve lost.

  4. Betrayal by our bodies! Hard to say which is worse, betrayal by friend(s) and/or family or our own bodies??? Not that it matters for one never sees either coming nor does it make the sense of loss and anguish any less. Je t’aime, N 🙂 ❤

  5. I have been going 17 yrs now and am currently running my arse off raising funds again selling my crafts. for CRUK. I always hope cures will prevail over profits and greed. Love your work.

  6. Just because a woman had a mastectomy, that doesn’t make her less of a woman than before, it just takes some time for the person who’d undergone this surgical lifesaving measure to realize…

  7. That is such a barbaric looking image to go with this poem. But then, chopping breasts off is. One day, there will be kinder ways of dealing with this.

  8. Beautifully told, harsh and frightening, painful and sorrowful. I have no words that can describe the complexity of loss better than you already have. ❤

  9. These words hit so close to home. As time passes, I have seen breast cancer strike old friends and distant female relatives, without warning or reason, like a snake coiled in the grass that bites the ankles of some but not others. It seems so cruel and unfair, and the rest of us watch helplessly as these brave women fight for life and grapple with losing their breasts. 😦

  10. Breasts are more than just fat.. they are tied deeply to feelings of femininity, in large part because of societal expectations… Excellent write.

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