Poetry from Robert Wilson

Photo: Christopher Paul High

Mastectomy

Alive in this nursery of cruelty,
clots forming like sticky blossoms
blooming into a poultice of petals
along a scar traversing your heart,
you cannot lift your arm,
you cannot keep your head
above the currents of morphine
eddying along the shores
of your breath.

The left side of your chest
is a child’s chest,
a paper doll cut-out
with left-handed scissors
in not enough light,
and when you wake
you will mistake what is numb
for what is absent,
you will ask, “Do you still love me?”
knowing you will never be certain,
symmetrical, or whole again.

You will ingest their poison,
submit to the terrible glare of men,
adopt what human form remains
to limp across this thinnest
layer of earth, the moon in one hand,
Ryonen’s mirror in the other,
reflecting the pines,
the tops of cedars, the voices
that still call you beautiful.

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Robert Wilson is teacher and poet living in the Mid-west. His poetry has most recently appeared in the Lily Poetry Review and the Pinyon Review.

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