I don’t remember what we were fighting about,
but I remember the room going silent
around the noise that came from your throat,
as you yanked up your t-shirt and revealed
your left breast, dangling low, its teat
a burnt umber eye steadily accusing me,
and that stretched, scarred skin
of the missing one, tight as a canvas.
I couldn’t look directly at you,
so I gazed at your back in the full-length mirror,
lined in oak, the violets that bloomed
on the back of your shirt, the Mother’s Day plates
still taped to your towel rack from when I was three,
but not at that eye, your eyes, down at my own shirt.
As I fell asleep on your bed your voice slowed
to a stop like rubber cement. You opened
the top drawer of your nightstand, pulled out
an oblong object wrapped in cheesecloth,
and placed it in my hands, coagulated blood
gluing it shut. I set it on your dresser, unsealed it,
and with one hand on each end, unrolled it
until your other breast lopped out. I dropped
the cheesecloth to the floor, and pressed
your half-intact chest to mine.
Kelsey Ann Kerr has a great interest in loss: holes both metaphorical and physical of the heart, holes in life left by the loss of parents, cauterized by love. She teaches writing composition and creative writing at the University of Maryland and American University, and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Maryland. Some of her work can be found in Slippery Elm and Stirring, among others.