Why I have one breast – New Poem (1st Draft)

Why I have one breast


I was staying at a friend’s.

It was cold and dark.

It was Christmas.


The radiators took

their time warming up,

so we made love like wild animals

to keep the heat in.


She had a new mattress

for me to sleep on,

and when I lay, face down,

I felt it, like a tennis ball

had been thrust under my skin

and I’d been sewn

back up again with lead thread.


I felt it,

hard and mean.


The doctor had a kind face

and soft hands.

He told me about the tumour

like we hadn’t already met.

I pictured it, very aggressive,

with teeth and eyes of fire.


Mum never came downstairs

without makeup on.

I told her ‘no tears.’

She said this was the wrong way around,

and can still memorise the date I was diagnosed.


I went to appointments alone,

put my own hair in the dustbin.


They cut off my breast and left me

scarred and stronger, like a warrior.