“The good Lord made them for feeding, not foolishness.” – Ethel Blackwell (1919-2004)
Was it the blatant bustle of breasts
that alarmed you or the shameless
parade of people that marched
to its cadence? Was it the bosoms
flaunting freely that turned you,
or the hearts? Ethel,
if you could see the breasts of today:
the ones that spill over silk, cuddle
with cashmere or rest in ruffles
you would pull your petticoat
tighter and scoff. Your heart
was shielded by your breasts, bound
under cotton shirts, blouses buttoned
to your neck, but these hearts are penetrable;
the skin above accustomed
to being touched, pressed, scathed.
Was it the access that alarmed you?
Or danger of heart exposure that made you
protect your chest of collections?
Someone wants to study your body
(not the way I study bodies)
but in a way that dissects your tissues,
syringes your blood and slides
cells under microscopes. They want to watch
your cancer stem cells grow, In addition
to the treatment described in this consent form,
the study sponsor would like to store blood
and tumor tissue samples for future
scientific research studies. Where will you
be stored? May I come, pull the vile labeled
“Colleen Margaret Ouellette Cooper, 9/19/1952”
from it’s cabinet when specimens are all that remain,
when I need you to tell me how to fold
a fitted sheet or the amount of time one
should work with pastry?
Sarah Cooper is a native of South Carolina. Currently she teaches at Clemson University, lives with an orange cat and writes poems on front porches.