Alicia Ostriker

The Remaining Breast
July 22, 2011 Ostriker Alicia

The Remaining Breast


I was showing my sister something about my breasts.

Glancing down I noticed with surprise

That I had only one and that the other

Lay flat, low, wrinkled, a rotted prune.

It’s only because I stayed so long in the bath

I explained in panic and haste.

In the dream it was my right breast

That was gone and my left one

That remained, a nasty thing, stained brown

As if a mug of coffee had been flung at it.

I looked at it as if under water.

She…she…you, you refused to look.

Alicia Suskin Ostriker is an American poet and scholar who writes Jewish feminist poetry. She was called “America’s most fiercely honest poet,” by Progressive. In 2015, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets