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I Offer to Model for Art Classes

by Charlotte Matthews

Not for the ten fifty an hour the poster promises 
in pay and not because I have delusions of seductive 
lines or flawless skin. A lot can be learned from these scars 
that were my breasts. Two oncologists stood for hours 
under blazing surgical lights with steady hands 
passing lancets, securing sutures, firming clamps.  
But I'm told they cannot use me as a model, told 
it would just be too shocking. I hang up 
the campus phone, glare at an ad in the day's paper:
pink ribbon key chains, ten fifty plus shipping.

Diagnosed in 2004 with Stage Three Breast Cancer, Charlotte Matthews has written a collection of poetry Whistle What Can't Said (Unicorn Press, 2016) chronicling her experience. She is author of two previous collections: Still Enough to Be Dreaming and Green Stars (both Iris Press) and has received fellowships from The Chatauqua Institute, The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and The Virginia Center for Creative Arts.