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Pink Ribbons

by Shawn Aveningo

One lump or two?
Ma'am...your coffee?
One lump or two?
Such an innocent question
uttered hundreds of times
in tea rooms, coffee houses,
restaurants, airplanes.
Today, those words
had the power
to bring her to her knees.
No amount of chamomile
or honey capable
of soothing her pain.
She was drowning
in a sea of sorrow,
fearful of what
tomorrow would bring.
How could she face
this new reflection,
scarred, disfigured?
What would she see
reflecting in his eyes?
He said he would always
love her, no matter what.
He said she would always
be beautiful to him,
but this...this
isn't what crosses your
mind, vowing in
sickness and health.
Each day she'll carry on,
with a stiff upper lip
and pink ribbons in her hair ,
stuffing the prosthetic
into her bra, no longer
adorned with sheer lace.
She'll march with an
army of women.
She's grateful to be
among the living,
a survivor as she's
now known.  But she misses
her curves, even if sometimes
they sagged.  She misses
the tingling of her nipples
when her husband held
her in his arms.  She
misses feeling like a woman.
She misses feeling
One lump or two?
She replied,
Oh, No Thank You.
No lumps for me.

Shawn Aveningo is the author of four poetry collections, her latest a chapbook chronicling her journey of donating a kidney to her father after he lost his second kidney to cancer. This poem, "Pink Ribbons," was inspired by the many women whom she's known who have battled and won the fight against breast cancer. If you would like more information about her poetry or would like to purchase one of her books, you can email her at poeticallyurs@yahoo.com.