06 November 2013


Where do old breasts go?
Dis-eased and cut off
at the heart but still
the landscape of itch,
ache and desire, they
allow touch on the inner
cave of sensation, their
ghosts whisper, yes, it’s
okay to build hills that
fill others’ valleys of fear

or not to build, to forget
—or not—only love me
first, ghosts beg, love
soft maternal gland-ness,
and then be ruthless—cut
and let me go.  And we do.

Where do old breasts go?
They walk past surgeons
into the valleys of shadows
hoping they carry the cells
of cancer with them, they
lay down in green pastures,
they remember love—and we
try to fear no evil while we
mix mourning into our
gratitude for another day.

Posted at Poets United for Kim's Verse First ~ The Body Becomes The Landscape.   Go to the link to read exquisite poetry and to see the beautiful photo-shopped otherscapes of  her featured artist Carl Warner, nothing to do with cancer.  I have not had mastectomies myself, but know/knew many women who have.

Copyright © 2013  S.L.Chast

Chosen for book 11/2013


Laurie Kolp said...

I love this, Susan. Yes, each day is a gift. My mom is an 18-year breast cancer survivor. We just found out she now has stage 4 lung cancer, though. Cancer sucks... not just breasts.

Anonymous said...


Kay L. Davies said...

I've never thought of this, Susan, although I also know women who have had mastectomies. "they remember love" is so poignant.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Incredibly beautiful, powerful and affirming, Susan. I am days behind, havent made it to the sites yet, still doing my blogroll:) I will get there. Sounds like there is some great stuff going on.

Brian Miller said...

i like the allusions to the lords prayer in this susan...not easy for some women to take this route...cancer is...ugh...we need to get serious on finding a solution there....and def hope it takes the cancer with it...still though it is so hard....

Kathryn Dyche said...

Wow, pretty powerful poem. Breasts that remember love, beautifully put.

Unknown said...

I really, really love this.

Sumana Roy said...

sad, scary, powerful and beautiful words.... my favorite lines being....'they
lay down in green pastures,
they remember love'....

Unknown said...

WOW, Susan! This is a powerful, emotional look at a practicality of mastectomy. I just watched a YouTube video of a woman dancing with nurses and doctors in the OR immediately preceding her double mastectomy. I am getting lots of perspectives today!

Unknown said...

Your words are loving and powerful. Cancer is the valley of the shadow of death and going through it is a step by step journey where one is grateful to have another day even if some pieces are missing.

Susan said...

Thank you, Laurie. I agree that all Cancer sucks--even the little GIST removed from my stomach in February. I was thinking of you and your mom when I read the Hospital poem at Poets United earlier today. I hold you and your family in the Light.

Susan said...

Thank you, Sherry. Seems the prompts and the poems lately have stepped up a notch--totally great stuff--which will all be here when you are ready.

Susan said...

Thank you, Brian. Yes, everything you say. I flashed on scenes of Civil War surgeries--piles of amputated legs--and then I saw them as breasts. Yikes. But beautiful, as in the photo-shopped images. Gruesome. Thank God, we're living longer and finding solutions. With art, we can bring focus to where it's needed.

Susan said...

Oh, yes. Thank you, Kathryn.

Susan said...

Thank you, Emily.

Susan said...

Thank you, Sumana.

Susan said...

I watched the same video on Face Book. I had already written this and should have sent it to her. A friend recently died of Breast cancer--the third in her family. I get emotional.

Susan said...

Thank you, Leslie. I know you are right; I'd trade a piece for more time.

TCPC said...

Dangerous is the very thought of it. A very poignant piece and you speak of love, maternal love gland-less...a very ominous expression.

humbird said...

I can relate to your feelings, very powerful poem....and, yes, we have to be grateful for every day! ~ Love

Stacy said...

this poem is just so lovely, in so many ways...love the celebration i feel to be a woman here, the pride if feel for breast cancer survivors (both known and unknown). this write is a gem!

stacy lynn mar