This is a powerful poem that contains ideas and iconic images that will stick with you. I added some definitions at the end of the post which will make your enjoyment greater if you don’t know exactly what is being said. May we all be free of disease and pain.
Chemotherapy Kathryn Kirkpatrick
Up from the massage table
I catch sight of myself
in the unavoidable mirror.
Afternoon light doesn’t blink.
Basic bald head. Bare pudendum.
Soft pile of belly and hips.
Once mirrors drew me like friends,
broke my gloomy moods
with a smile, eyes brighter
than I’d remembered. Now I’m sacra
to myself, a neutral suggestion,
transpersonal form. Stripped
to Neolithic goddess, I’m all
that’s behind all that will ever be,
prima mater, prima material,
impersonal as rain, kneaded
to dozens of shapes, except
that my chest is scarred
which is what you’d expect
of a goddess in this 21st century.
*pudendum: the sexual organs on the outside of a person’s body.
*sacra in ancient Roman religion are transactions relating to the worship of the gods, especially sacrifice and prayer undertaken on behalf of the individual by herself, on behalf of the family or by the whole body of the people.
*prima mater, prima material is first mother, first material.