Anya Krugovoy Silver is professor of English and Interdisciplinary Studies at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. She has published poetry in numerous journals, including Image, New Ohio Review, Witness, Prairie Schooner, Christian Century, Christianity and Literature, Anglican Theological Review, Laurel Review, Iowa Review, North American Review and others. Her first collection, The Ninety-Third Name of God: Poems was published by LSU Press in 2010.
Many of the poems in The Ninety-Third Name of God deal with breast cancer – discovery, mastectomy, recovery, including the one below.
How comforting, the smudge on each forehead:
I’m not to be singled out after all.
From dust you came. To dust you will return.
My mastectomy, a memento mori,
prosthesis smooth as a polished skull.
I like the solidity of this prayer,
the ointment thumbed into my forehead,
my knees pressing hard on the velvet rail.
If God won’t give me His body to clutch,
I’ll grind this soot in my skin instead.
If it can’t hold the flame that burned by breast,
I’ll char my brow; I’ll blacken my pores; I’ll flaunt
with ash this flaw in His creation.