My Mother’s Breasts

My mother’s breasts were beautiful,
Such an odd thing for a daughter to say,
But Mother/daughter relationships
Are more complex than labyrinths, and
Breasts are more than flesh.

Those great comforting pillows
Where I rested my head
In infancy and childhood
Hearing stories and songs
Without an inkling of anything
But a sense of endless safety.

Years flowed by, and I
Became my own safe place.
Mom complained about the size,
And heaviness of her breasts
While I thought they were
As constant as air
Hug hello
Hug goodbye
How do I look in this?

But air is only taken for granted
By the breathing
And we had no idea
That cancer
Would suck the air out of complacency.

My mother’s scars are beautiful.
I feared looking at them that first time,
Feared her reaction
But there was nothing except the joy
That comes from knowing
You’ve survived
Your greatest fear.

No one
Wanted this new day.
But it came.

In the end
Those scars signify life
Her life and mine.
The life before and after contained
In the crooked perfection
Of surgical skill.

There is a certain beauty in these great
Navigating lines that journey
From arm to arm.
She stands taller now
I think I do too.

Hug hello
Hug goodbye
How do I look in this?
I love you Rachel
I love you Mommy
Some things never change.


12 Responses to My Mother’s Breasts

  1. Pingback: My Mother’s Breasts | What Cancer Brings

  2. Wookiesgirl says:

    Beautiful Rach! I think you should let Boobiewed know so they can link to it on their site this week. =)

  3. Les says:

    That’s beautiful.

  4. Diana says:

    A positive outcome to a negative circumstance. Wonderful way to embrace a big change to the life of survivors and families. Nicely done with love and devotion.

    • Blackbirdsong says:

      Thank you Diana. Yes, I think that’s the best we can do in any circumstance. We can allow things to completely defeat us or we can try to find something positive. It’s tough either way and I’ve certainly had moments of defeat. It’s a process.

  5. Pingback: My Mother’s Breasts | Healthy Living

  6. James K. Blaylock says:

    This is such a heartfelt piece Rach. The love you have for your mother flows through ever single line. I’m so glad that everything worked out for both of your well beings.

    It is so sad that sometimes it takes something awful to happen for us to utter the simple words “I love you.” Those times send such a shock into own minds, hearts, and our very souls. Then our hands are forced to take everything… moment by moment and tear by tear. Otherwise our loved ones may not have known out hearts toward them.

    Your poem is so very beautiful. I’m sure it shall speak to so many people and through so many different walks of life. Because cancer doesn’t choose whom it stikes. It just hits like a sonic boom, and we’re let in aftermath of chaos. I think this piece shall touch many people, and they will surely be better for having read it. May healing come softly unto all whom have dealt with such sorrows. Be blessed!


    • Blackbirdsong says:


      Your comments on my writing are always so heartfelt. Of course you’ve read this more than anyone since I showed you all the drafts of it before I finally got to this one. Thank you for your continued support and friendship.

  7. Carol says:

    That was beautiful, Rachel. I loved it. You have a wonderful way of expressing yourself.

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