TO THE NURSE WHO TOLD ME TO GRIEVE FOR MY BREAST I sit here unable to understand. My breasts have been good to me, I’ll admit to that— lots of sexual pleasure through the years, large cup size when it mattered to the world around me, never any problem with infection, mastitis, fibrosis, cysts. When I had babies, my breasts overflowed. No problem nursing— I pumped breast milk for La Leche to deliver to neonatal preemies. Men and women who were born too soon and struggled to live may be alive today in part because of my breasts. WRESTLING THE BODY, this old bear made clumsy and slow by years, battles lost and won, scars, stiffnesses, incisions, I envy those girls in bathing suits and tennis shorts, flexible, strong, with no idea their own breasts, prized, displayed with pride as they run into and out of summer, could kill them. 41 BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE It’s not like we’re talking a hand, an eye, a leg. It’s just a breast, mostly a big inconvenience, always in the way and vulnerable. Not something I can’t do without. Losing it won’t cripple me. And the son of a bitch tried to kill me.