The Waiting Room
All eye contact is strictly avoided
like a taboo - each wondering
about the other women's -
as yet, untold secrets. Who
will leave the building smiling,
and will there be one, or more
hiding red eyes and regrets
for neglecting to come sooner?
My name is called. I rise and feel
a fraud, especially knowing
there will be some who actually
need to be here -
It's the expressions on practiced
faces that gives the game away.
After all the kneading and squeezing
has been completed, and pictures
scrutinized, comes the crunch.
A needle punch pincushions
me to the core; a length of steel
pierces the shell to impale the hidden
limpets of armpits - only screamed once.
Advanced. The word hangs
in the air. You don't go back from here
to the waiting room - except to collect
your unsuspecting partner. Cosy,
the pretty box with a soft settee he's lost
in - flower printed cushions and curtains -
walls painted cream; tasteful, for hospital.
After you have broken and comforted
your man, you are deemed ready to begin
the dreaded journey they assure you
is the only road to recovery. You'll do it, too,
because it seems there is no choice.
There'll be time to cry. But you would give
your left breast to go back to the waiting
room and start over...