Danni Quintos

Breast Pain


In pandemic June I find an egg
-sized lump, angry & hot, under

my shirt. A toddler’s hug makes 
me wince. I wear a mask, a cotton pink

gown. I awkwardly hug a machine
as it bites each breast with mechanical

x-ray teeth. I have always been scared
of these breasts. Mine formed painfully

as glass marbles under my skin. A bruise
& bloom, the year my lola had hers

excised: perpendicular scar like an intersection
across her. A special bra, one nipple

in the mirror under her church blouse. My breasts
inherited thick, ropey tissue; a risk from her

side, a rust-colored rosary worn from prayer.

Danni Quintos is the author of Two Brown Dots (BOA Editions, 2022), winner of the 20th A. Poulin Jr. Prize. She is a Kentuckian, a knitter, and an Affrilachian Poet. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Cream City Review, Best New Poets 2015, and elsewhere.
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