I live, write, and teach in Appleton, Wisconsin--about 35 miles south of the "frozen tundra." I am fascinated by good paper, poetry and the way ink moves forward on the blank page and words trail behind like a snake shedding its skin. Winner of the 2003 Main Street Rag Chapbook contest, I am the author of the collection A Theory of Lipstick (Main Street Rag: 2013) and seven chapbooks of poetry. Widely published (poetry, reviews and interviews), I was awarded a Pushcart Prize in 2011. www.karlahuston.com
In 1969, I tucked a pencil
under a breast and when it failed
to cling, I went braless. Brassieres
uncoupled, and everywhere women
waved them like flags, filled
incinerators with nylon and lace.
Later I wore a nursing bra, flap
agape, nipple pulsing while my baby
sucked, and I wrote notes on what not
to forget. One night the neighbor boys
watched through tilted blinds, rubbed
their crotches and spilled their own
milk under a tree in the yard.
Years later when the Wonderbra arrived,
I tried it, felt cables and wire
cantilevered against my skin
to lift and point even the most
desperate tissue. Today they tell me
they need additional views of a routine
mammogram. As the doctor pulls out
the slides, some taken years earlier,
I learn the history of my breasts.
I stare at the brilliant panels, and there it is,
a transparent web and outlined
in red pencil, the sinister cell, thick
and alarming. As I press fingers
to the circled spot, my worst
fears settle there and flicker.
-first published in Pencil Test, chapbook, Cassandra Press: 2001
©2015 Karla Huston