Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Cut and Save

by Mary O’Connor

But after all, I didn’t mind so much about my breast
—at my age breasts were neither here nor there,
those shivery sweet blancmanges of  my youth gone
the way of Apple Blossom talc and staying up till five.
Yes, it was a mutilation but only like a gangrened
toe cut off to save a foot, a trapped arm severed
to free a body from the rocks, nothing to do with
my womanhood, which would survive. I was sure
a heart for people, laughter, ample comprehension, nerve
were more to the point. The old me had all her parts,
the current me—developed over decades, changing cells
at least eight times, already missing a bit of eyebrow,
several teeth and one unused organ—this new me was fuller,
more complete! Why should that contrapuntal movement
not continue?
	So I said at the edge of the crater, looking down
on the dredged-out hole and tossing in a forlorn wreath.


—Honorable Mention, the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2017; first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2017-18 (Garden Oak Press, February 2018) and appears here with permissions from the publisher and the poet


SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Mary O’Connor

is a writer, painter, poet, and photographer who lives on the Connecticut shore. Her work appears in such venues as America, Briar Cliff Review, Caesura, Jacaranda Review, and Metre. She is the author of Life is Full of Sweet Spots: An Exploration of Joy (Abbot Press, 2013), Windows and Doors (Finishing Line Press, 2012), and Dreams of a Wingless Child (Wheatmark, 2007). She has a BA degree in psychology from Manhattanville College in New York and is a journalist, marketer, and public relations counselor by profession. She has also facilitated workshops, taught poetry writing to inmates at York Correctional Institute and the Connecticut state prison for women, and served on boards or as a volunteer in the community arena.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury