Back to Issue Nine.

Testimony, After the Mastectomy



Years ago, we were a waif’s companion,
standing guard on dilapidated porches.
Always outdone by injury, speaking through tresses.
But it was good to be part of something dangerous.
Free in an uproar of white linen.
Leather, whalebone, reed—every prison, temporary.

We didn’t ask for Lara Croft, for Hasbro.
The celluloid ascent of those infernal lips.
To be rendered brick and bulbous at right angles.
Like she swallowed the world’s largest Victoria Cross—
only the sharp points remained,
remaking her thorax, inside out.

Much later, we shook free on the border of Libya.
Hunching quiet. At last permitted our patience.
Pressing all the strange world’s children and their suffering, closer.
Madingo, Muhajir, Machinga. Sindhi, Baloch, Mendes Sherbros.
We knew then, what would happen.
What could, and could not, be taken.

Sara Biggs Chaney received her Ph.D. in English in 2008 and currently teaches first-year writing in Dartmouth’s Institute for Writing and Rhetoric. Her poems and flash fictions have recently appeared (or will soon appear) in PANK, SunDog Lit, Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review, Word Riot, Whiskeypaper, and other places. You can catch up with Sara at her blog: