The Uses of Pink The…

The Uses of Pink

The first teaching day (after diagnosis 
it seems my life now is divided into b.d. and a.d.)
I wore a flowered bra and matching undies,
the most feminine ones I owned. Not for
the students, certainly, who would never see them,
not even for my partner. I layered a white cotton tank,
a pink cashmere cardigan found at the thrift store
a week before, grey corduroys worn with embroidered
flower socks beneath. Pink jewelry too, the most
delicate I owned, blown glass beads and gold thread,
made in Vermont by a local artisan, from the first
teaching job I had post-doctorate (thats another
division in my life, I suppose  b.d. and a.d.).

Frankly, the whole thing was the most feminine
outfit I could possibly put together, out of a wardrobe
that in winter tends more towards steely grey and
blustery blue. This is why the damned ribbons
are pink, I think. This rotten, rotting cancer strikes
at the beating heart of breasts I may have cursed
for their intransigence, their unwillingness to fit
into bras or shapely dresses. A female thing,
and even though I have, more than once, when
contemplating sports, or even a run, wanted
to simply lop them off and be done with them,
I find myself oddly protective now.

They fed two children, these breasts. Poorly, granted 
we never quite managed to make nursing work,
resorted to the double-pump, the doubled hours
of pumping and feeding. But perhaps some small
immunity was lent as a result; we can hope. They
have offered a great deal of pleasure in their day,
for all their unwieldy inconveniences. Now,
I am protective, defiant, angry on their behalf.
They worked so hard. Shall I abandon them?

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