Lana Hechtman Ayers


The mirror reports that I am starting to
resemble my mother, the way she looked

that time I went into her bedroom without knocking,
saw her breasts: two weighted-down plastic bags,

bloated, slow-swinging pendulums.
I decided right then to die at eighteen,

in the prime of perkiness and elasticity.
Last year, my mother showed me a fat scar

where her left breast used to be.
It looked as if a red snake slithered

out of her heart and hid his head
in the brush of her armpit.

The longer I stared, the more I recognized
the creature above her belly for what it was: life.

Nothing about nakedness was ever that lovely.
My mother's survived this halving,

that scar, a red brooch of honor
making me proud to be a woman like her.

In a moment, when the tub is finally full,
I'll forget the mirror, all these musings,

lie back in the pale green bath,
and feel the warm water work its magic,

making buoyant, bobbing apples
of my two old gals.

Lana Hechtman Ayers

Lana Hechtman Ayers of Kirkland, WA works as a manuscript consultant, writing workshop facilitator, and publishes Concrete Wolf Poetry Chapbooks. Her first book and chapbook, Dance From Inside My Bones and Love is a Weed are available from http://LanaAyers.com. A Pushcart nominee with poems appearing in such journals as Rhino, Feminist Studies Quarterly and Cider Press Review, Ayers has also received honors in the "Discovery"/The Nation Competition and the Rita Dove Poetry Prize.