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The Mass

by Amy Alexander

A hard fall,
mid run,
stays with me,
flesh grown over a gravel patch
I couldn’t scrub,
now a talisman,
a deep, unseen tattoo.

They say this cluster
will go with me like this.
I palpate, anyway,
most days,
and recognize
the geography of it.

It’s a decade of the rosary
resting west of the areola,
or a pocketful of beans,
both prayer
and the fear of growth.

Will it mark me a wonder,
a reminder that I am never the same,
cells always changing,
new woman/new woman/new woman?

Or will it launch me into a cloud world,
where the giant’s steps
put ripples in the tea
and a red angel
with a dinged harp calls the shots?

Holding both of these possibilities
in my fingers
has me willing to cleave away
a whole handful of flesh.
I’m finished with feeding and,
in a long marriage,
might be willing to do without the sex.

Then the challenge:
What is the meaning of two breasts?
And were they ever really mine
to begin with?

Amy Alexander is a mother, poet, journalist, and visual artist. Her work has appeared most recently in Mojave Heart Review, Cease, Cows, Tiny Flames Press, The Cabinet of Heed, and The Remembered Arts. Her books include “The Legend of the Kettle Daughter” (Hedgehog Poetry Press, April, 2019) and “Finding Betty Crocker” (Naissance Press, 2011). Follow her on Twitter @iriemom.

Lead image: “Mass” (artwork by Amy Alexander)