Caroline Lazar

The Geometry Of Loss

From Thursday afternoon Maths lessons
I remember geometry.

My body has become
a map of dimensions one, two and three.

The day before the operation,
when I looked in the glass,
I saw my symmetry for the last time.
Both nipples could be teased
into excited raspberries.
Now I am lopsided.

Medieval painters transformed the Madonna breast
into a globe where the Christ child suckled.
Now my three-dimensional globe
is sliced down to a one-dimensional line,
an infinite series of points
stretches where the globe had been,
but, angrier than a line, the scar
has two dimensions, width as well as length.

To either side the scar—
true representatives of the first dimension—
dots. These tattoos were not chosen in a parlour
from a template book of daggers and celtic knots.
They act as markers for the radiographer
to measure up and burn away my cancer.

The radiation and the chemotherapy
turn my cancer's fecund strength into its weakness.
They burn me, but burn my cancer more.
They poison me, but poison my cancer more.

My weakness is my strength,
my polite, slow-dividing cells
know when enough is enough.
They commit suicide for the greater good
so I can live a little longer.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 22, 2012

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