DEATH OF THE RIGHT BREAST
You insist and take me to the lamp,
the shade cockeyed.
You unbutton, push the straps to your waist,
carefully unwrap the gauze.
The support wraps, the rubber tubing,
then drain bulbs, fast and sure of yourself
like a mail clerk preparing an envelope.
The first thing to see is the slash
side to side, the path of sharp instruments
which I imagine claimed your breast quickly
like a Picasso brush stroke.
We stand side by side surveying,
looking, dumbfounded. I can only think
of hurricane victims from television news.
Crumpled trailers, empty dog house,
the 1973 Comet that will never run again.
Tomoxifin vials on the dresser,
a pouch of X-rays, mammogram film,
sonograms that seem full of light
like photographs of the Turin Shroud,
toppling over in the corner, dated
and indexed, thumbed like prayer wheels.
Far away, a passenger plane flies to Cleveland,
a dog barks disturbed by a thief, a bread maker
begins his shift, lights an oven. A roof gutter
drips now and then. Hush overtakes the room.
We sit looking ahead like travelers on a bus.
We sit like inexperienced newlyweds,
the waving curtains still, settle against the pane.
Bernard Henrie won the Interboard Poetry Competition (IBPC) for January, 2005. His recent publications include MindFire Renew, Zafusy, Desert Moon Review, Word Riot and Tertulia. Four of his poems were anthologized in the Wild Poetry Anthology. His first book of poetry, Letters From the Java Sea, will appear in Fall, 2005. Henrie administered social service programs in Los Angeles County for 15 years before turning a hobby, currency trading, into a home based business. He lives at the edge of the Mojave Desert 60 minutes north of Los Angeles. He is a foreign film nut.