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  You could have a big dipper   

Mastectomy by Karen Steiger

I never thought I’d be the kind of person

who would have my own plastic surgeon.

I don’t even wear eyeliner.

Nevertheless, I have a plastic surgeon,

and he seems proud of the previous day’s work.

I’m sure he sees these freshly deflated tits

all the time,

but it’s still a shock to me.

My left breast looks like it was in

an old-timey farming accident.

“Ol’ Lefty has never been the same

since she got caught up in the thresher.”

Or maybe it had been run over by a truck,

and then the truck backed up

and ran over it again.

It’s now covered in off-putting shades

of sickly yellow and angry purple,

misshapen and concave in places.

Like the roadkill possum

that’s not quite dead yet,

hissing and spitting and cursing at you

as it crawls across the road.

It will get better, I guess.

You’ll see me soon

in some black Nine Inch Nails t-shirt,

covered in dog hair,

and probably a dollop of mustard

(you know me),

and you would never know

this happened to me.


Karen Steiger is a poet and breast cancer survivor living in Schaumburg, Illinois. She is the founder of her poetry blog, The Midlife Crisis Poet (, and her work has been published in The Wells Street Journal, Black Bough Poetry, Perhappened, Kaleidotrope, Mineral Lit Mag, Rejection Letters, Versification, and others.

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