by Amanda Gomez
after Eduardo Corral
At a desk, during a tornado warning
blinds rattling the window resemble nails
tapping across a keyboard, a woman drops
her shirt. The fabric splatters her lap
like mud. A ruby crescent curved scar
across her lopsided milky chest. She brushes
skin, making an open cup with her hand.
Her shadow leaning against the wall,
so that a knuckle replaces an aureole.
It’s been a while since your surgery.
Are you getting reconstruction?
Once, I stuffed my bra when I was twelve. No, not once… really, it was multiple times. I started by sneaking into my mother’s room. Staring into her underwear drawer. It was nothing like Victoria’s Secret. They weren’t lined up. More scattered like a clump of grass clippings. With my index fingers, I pulled a white one by the straps. In front of a mirror, I held it in front of my body before trying it on. I could’ve used tissue or toilet paper to stuff, but her breasts were just too large. It would take too much, so I took handfuls of her pantyhose instead. Do you understand? My chest, inches from the mirror now: lumpy and large. It was unnatural. But I liked the feeling of something there.
I wanted to move on with my life. Accept it.
Tonight, I stared into his eyes, but he couldn’t
finish again. Instead, he asks, was it worth it?
It’s not like he can control his sexual desire.
I told him I’d understand if he ever decided
to get a girl on the side. I think it’s how I prefer
tall men: What if he came home after work
a foot shorter? I’d feel shutdown, betrayed.
I could’ve listened to what he wanted. Perhaps,
trusted the process. A couple rounds of chemo
could’ve killed the cancer. Made it vanish.
Right now, everything above the waist is off limits.
He thinks implants will help, but I’m not so sure.
He thinks I don’t want more scars. The truth:
I’m scared he still wouldn’t touch me there again.
Admit it. I want to be symmetrical.
She’s always nude with her breast(s)
exposed. Aphrodite: a tease. Hands
barely clutching her chest. Hair
draping behind her neck, her back.
She is a fishing net: the definition
of full. An ornament of womanhood.
You wonder how to become like this.
Too poor to afford a remodeled breast.
When the wound healed and swallowed
the surrounding skin, I thought about
how it was the perfect color red:
an earthworm stretched along the ground.
Some say reconstruction
is more painful. It takes
too long to heal.
I’m more worried about
it coming back. I don’t want to miss
the lumps another time.
If I could flatten my palms
on my chest, I know
I’d have a better chance.
He said: you don’t really know
what you’re thinking right now.
I said: you don’t really know
what you’re saying right now.
The perfect idea of symmetry:
Amanda Gomez is an MFA candidate in poetry at Old Dominion University. Some of her works have been published in the following publications:Eunoia Review, Ekphrastic Review, Manchester Review, Expound Magazine,San Pedro River Review, and Avalon Literary Review.