Patricia Wellingham-Jones


A strange congregation,
these warrior women
creating our own modern myth.
Feet clunky in Reeboks
we march down Main Street,
less interested in destination
than in being.
Hairless heads helmeted
in turbans, wigs and baseball caps
(full heads of hair
follow rites of passage).
Not all are one-breasted.
Some have no breasts, others
a sad little half, or large pinch
taken out of the fullness.
Each carries a shield,
tiny ribbon loop in pink
pinned on the front of her shirt.
Most have taken poison
to drive out the invader, all
live with the sense of time racing.
On this day we join together,
pool our ages, strength,
our hearts. Watch as people
on the streets join in.
By the end of the walk
we're all laughing with joy,
send a glow of hope heavenward
in a cloud wrapped with pink.

*Reviously published in Edgz

* * *


I stared at my fingers
in disbelief.
Put them back,
felt it again.
Dozens of times over the weekend
my fingers prodded and poked.
Secret revealed
by the mammogram,
I sat in the doctor's office.
Heard the horrible word,
looked Death in the eye.
Wanted to bite off
those traitor fingers,
spit them out.

* * *

the biopsy

I lie on the gurney, wrapped in blankets
warmed and snuggly, lift my mind
out of the hospital, try to wheel
with hawks in the sky.
In X-Ray I smile, cooperate.
Sit with left breast clamped in a vise
while a young woman in superb health
checks the latest film.
Feel my head like a pumpkin
on needle-thin neck
droop over the monster machine.
The doctor swabs the site,
injects pain-killer, inserts guide wires.
I, restored to my cubby hole,
wait under my warmed blanket
for the army of knives.
Cast my mind outward
while my body shudders
with fear.

Patricia Wellingham-Jones, a former psychology researcher and writer/editor, is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Chapbooks include Don't Turn Away: Poems About Breast Cancer (PWJ Publishing) and Hormone Stew (Snark Publishing). She won the Palabra Productions Chapbook Contest 2006 with End-Cycle, poems about caregiving. More information about her work is available on her website .