your arm accidentally
touches my breast
in the middle of the night

in that region between
wake and sleep
I panic

I imagine your memories
you touching them
them touching you
you touching you

I re-remember me touching you
you touching me
him touching me
me touching him
me touching me

The latter is the only safe place I find

I re-remember radiation
targeting my breast
burnt flesh
destruction to bring healing

if only it were that clear
cells die, cellular memory remains
swelled shadows of flesh and
emotional bruises

I find my beloved aunt’s
silicone prosthetic breast
wrapped in a perky pink cloth
in a storage container
in the basement
my touch breaks through
twenty-year-old gel

the two-pound weight she carried daily
for over 20 years
to stabilize her balance
both mental and physical
a reminder each day of her loss

like little tattoos on my breast
to target the radiation
signs of survival
traces of doubt and trauma

I hold my breasts in my palms
estimate their individual weight
at 2 pounds, one a little less

the memories still weigh more

(question: I’m going back and forth on the title; the original is “A Breast full of Memories”)

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