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.