Imperfection After Breast Cancer


A stage 2 breast cancer survivor uses poetry to reflect on her views about her changing body after a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.


When you are missing part of your chest, you must make concessions.


Symmetry is beauty, they tell us.

Lopsided good for bunny ears, not for breasts.

Picasso bosom, the new norm?

One high, one low, studded with scars. Funky!

Now take the Venus de Milo –

She is missing her arms, but at least she has her breasts.

The Winged Victory of Samothrace – she is missing her head, but at least she has her breasts.

They have endured for a couple thousand years unfinished.

I can endure for a few more decades.

Incomplete but not inadequate.

Imperfect but not insecure.

Asymmetrical but assured.

Museum-quality imperfection.

This poem was originally submitted for the CURE® 2021 Poetry Contest. Submissions are open until August 15 and poems can be submitted here.

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.

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