Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VIRGINIA, by KAREN SWENSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

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VIRGINIA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: First they took off one breast
Last Line: The more multiples there are.
Subject(s): Death; Surgery; Women; Dead, The

First they took off one breast
then the other
then her ovaries came out
then her pituitary gland.

Slowly they dismembered her
to keep her alive.
They started with the things they understood
cutting her womanhood away,
the most obviously infected part,
and then the module
whose function they weren't sure of.
It is a matter of taking out the fuse
so the lights won't go on.

She stands on the corner and talks to me,
wearing her scars behind the soft sculpture of foam,
tells me that living with death is not too bad.
It gives life salt, not depending
on any other time to make up your tense,
and days become what they always should have
been, pungent with the present.

She leaves me to go to the hospital,
moving from biopsy to biopsy
as they cut her back to the bone,
but the more they minus
the more multiples there are.

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