The powder blue sink. The lavender walls.
Medicine cabinet lights.
They’re with me still, a homely stage,
setting of a brief tableaux vivant
enacted for an audience of one.
Do you …want to see?
her muted voice petitions me,
eldest daughter, confidante,
proposing that I share the fresh,
unthinkable insult that brings us here this night.
Yes. Yes, I’m curious. Let’s see,
a voice that must be mine responds.
Her frail arm lifts, surgical bracelet
floating on the pale, pink wrist,
she draws her robe aside.
What fierce strength in me is tapped
that holds my gasp in check?
I’m swept into some alien landscape,
a swirling crimson nebula
all chaos and galactic noise-
a sunken purple outrage once a breast.
She from whom my acting skill derives
is calm. The disembodied voice resumes:
It doesn’t look so bad, Mom.
I’ll make some tea. We’ll talk.
I leave the room, its hard fluorescent truth,
but can’t escape the grim terrain-
the skillful excavation,
a fine, clean sphere whose size and depth
my graphic brain insists
denote a tuna can!
Did her surgeon
use a tuna can to conjure
that eclipsed and angry moon,
a signature, a brand?
My mother’s been forever stamped