It’s never just about death
or cancer, or surgery.
It’s what the doctor said
when Anne asked,
What will I look like?
wanting his compassion before
they removed her bandages
from where the breasts had been.
You will look like a man, he said.
He said I will look like a man!
I felt assaulted, betrayed, she said.
He checked his work,
the clean seams pleased him
and he left the room.
I was grateful, she said,
but now she wept, for the girl in her,
for her breasts, for her woman’s heart,
for the way we all want the healer
to sing to us.