Surviving




She can't remember the details of joy.
Her 40th birthday party
and her silver anniversary
reside in mote-filled shadows,
but she remembers everything 
about her breast cancer,
except those first words
spoken by the ghost of cancers past,
"It's malignant."


Even though her hair has since grown back
and she no longer fears mirrored dressing room stalls,
her self exam becomes adolescent fumbling.
Cold and sweaty hands
stroke for opaque shadows of dread
but the negative bone scan 
lets her breathe.


She wears a crucifix around her neck
everyday,
as part of her bargain with God.
The cross swings as she walks,
gently bobbing with every step,
between her left breast
and her prosthesis. 



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