Mammogram Call Back with Ultra Sound

by Ellen Bass

So this is what I’m here for, to see inside
the mute weight of my right breast, heavy handful
of treasure I longed for as a girl when I cried
behind the curtain in the Guerlaine sisters’ corset shop.
Those tender spinsters could hardly bear
my tears, as they adjusted the straps
on a padded lace bra. I had to wait another year
before my breasts swelled like wind-filled sails
and many were the explorers carried away,
searching for perfumes and spices,
the nerve-laden nipples singing through the wires.
But never has there been a joy like this
as I lay in the pale green cool of radiology.
The lineage of death has swerved around me.
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
As the wand of the ultrasound glides over my flesh,
revealed is a river of light, a bright
undulant tangle of lobules and milk ducts,
ligaments and tissue, harmless and radiant
against the black fat. I could be looking up
at the night sky, this wispy band of brilliance,
a shining spur of the milky way galaxy,
and I, in my infinitesimal life, will,
at least for tonight, keep these lovely atoms
before I must return them to the stars.