OncoLink

This Breast Surgeon

Alysa Cummings
Copyright © 2002 Alysa Cummings

For E.J.M.

This Breast Surgeon

They look at the films together.
Oh, I don't like this. I don't like this one bit, he says.
This breast surgeon points to her x-ray
Traces lazy circles with his fingertips
Reaches for a small white writing pad
(The name of a pharmaceutical company
Printed across the top)
Starts drawing breasts.
He quickly creates a female torso
Just one unbroken line from his black felt tip marker.
A moment later a straight shorter line turns into an arm;
A curved half circle becomes a breast.
Another much smaller circle appears
Suddenly there's a nipple; then two: a matched set.
In a stupor of silent anxiety, she watches him sketch,
Thinks about Picasso;
Drawings so evocative
With one simple, continuous line.
And as she spectates, a soothing mantra
Spins through her head:
This man has sketched millions of breasts.
He is good at drawing breasts.
He is good at cutting breasts.
He knows breasts.
This breast surgeon.

Alysa Cummings