I saw my mother’s
heart today. She pressed
up against the machine
while, a few feet away
I watched it load
on the computer screen.
Is that…? I asked. The radiologist
immune to the novelty
of inside views, nodded.
I’d helped my mother
get undressed, seen
for the first time
the vest she wore
to cover where her breasts had been.
I had not expected
several minutes later
to see her chest –
like wings unfurling –
open itself out to me.
Released, my mother stood
small and grinning
in her backless gown,
no idea what I’d seen
or what she’d shown.
I kept it to myself,
my mother’s heart.
It had not looked
as I’d imagined, but
like a star, shooting
through her ribs, that body
I used to be a part of.

-Tania hershman-


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