The Instable Object Of Desire

In the oldest dreams of old men, women’s breasts still      

                                    remain…medals, emblems of their love.  Duane Michals               

rooms full of breasts

rooms darkened to protect the photographs

a young woman holding her shirt up

with her teeth,

on her head a rhinestone diadem

old breasts, empty, pendulous

cactus bud breasts,

pears as breasts,

breasts over Yosemite Falls

the Arbus waitress at a nudist camp,

hers pert and tanned, her order book

tucked into her apron pocket

I’m remembering nursing Kristy— 

that night coming home in the car,

the perfect arc of the Sonoma moon in the sky

I’m thinking of tipis, yurts, hogans, kivas

of California tule houses,

of duomos and geodesic domes

I’m thinking of the crescent scar 

on my now slightly smaller right breast

of the clinical words:

lumpectomy, mastectomy,

of Rachael Carson whose breasts were burned

with an x-ray machine, the treatment that didn’t save her life

of how that little scar saved mine

and how lucky that was

I’m thinking of all the women who get treatment

too late

or not at all

for a while, in that dimly lit gallery in Florence,

I wandered in the world of the breast: 

That Instable Object of Desire

© Judy Bebelaar

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