Before And After

Tommie Ortega
From: The Cancer Poetry Project: poems by cancer patients and those who love them (Karin B. Miller, editor) Fairview Press, 2001

I remember water
touching my body differently
as, still whole, I lay in that last hot bath.

Now I discover a freckle
beneath where my breast once was
and feel a newness come over me.

I ask god to tell me he loves me
and he answers
through the taste of a sweet, summer peach.

Water pours over a scarred, curveless mass, and I am


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