Surgeons, Pink Ribbons, and Agatha’s Platter
A poetic reflection in honor of Breast Awareness Month…inspired by my graduate studies into the “political” word choices made by the translators of the Greek and Hebrew texts of the Bible and my one and only experience of surgery. The personal and the political are always mixing it up in our lives…
Breast, A Noun
To know anything at all about our history, our bodies, ourselves, we must reach beyond what they told us, what they taught us, what they want from us, we must reach back to the very beginning.
Before merriam and webster, who have something to say about everything: “breast a noun, either of two milk-producing glandular organs on the front of the chest especially in the human female.”
Before the reversals of christian history: adam giving birth to the woman, father god suckling the child, christ nursing humanity, the milk-giving goddess agatha claimed as their saint, her breasts cut off and carried on a platter.
Before the alterations of the hebrew bible: el shaddai, a name for god, shaddai meaning breast, male translators altered the meaning, their “god of the high places” doesn’t have breasts like mine.
We must reach back to the very beginning to the place where lovers go when they suck my breasts to the source of life. Mama Mama Mama cried in the silence as their wet lips surround my nipple, and they suck for dear life.
In the very beginning long before Adam gave birth and father god sprouted breasts and Christ nursed humanity and shaddai meant “high places” and Agatha’s breasts were amputated and my lovers wanted more than I could give.
In the very beginning was the Big Mama. From her moon-breasts flowed the milky way, the stars and planets, streams, rivers, and oceans, all that ebbs and flows, all that expands and contracts, returning always to mama’s breast.
To her breasts pharaohs and kings returned again and again hoping to receive immortality to become infants forever nursing at mama’s breast.
She came to me early in the morning the one with breasts like mine she held me in her arms as I cried mama mama mama, don’t let them take my breast away on a platter. Her nipple found my lips and I sucked for my dear life.
The breast-less surgeon, the one they call artist he cut into my breast with skill and beauty and all they took away that day was a perfectly shaped lump they left the breast.
She came to me again that night the one with breasts like mine. She brought Agatha. Agatha brought her platter. We made an altar in the middle of the forest.
On Agatha’s platter we placed her breasts and my lump. Using merriam and webster, the hebrew scriptures, the christian bible and photos of lovers who became infants at our breasts as kindling, we built a fire and toasted marshmallows.
Where two or three women are gathered together there she is in the midst of them.
Patricia Lynn Reilly is an author and the founder of Imagine a Woman International. If you’d like to join the IAW Team of Certified Coaches and circle the globe with WomanSpirit visit www.imagineawoman.com. “Breast, A Noun” can be found in Patricia’s anthology of poetry and prose Words Made Flesh. It is available for purchase at the Imagine a Woman website.