by Kathryn Kirkpatrick
When I want breasts, I wear my Dolly Parton bra.
Bigger than mine ever were—why not?
It’s all make-believe now, like Dolly’s hair.
My friend May wears her prosthesis every day,
but it makes her arm swell. When she goes home
she can’t wait to take it off. I say, “May,
you’ve been through too much to keep helping people out.
If they don’t know by now about cancer,
then it’s time they did.”
She works at the courthouse,
says people stare. Or her kids say, “Mom
put it on-they’ll think you’re a freak.”
I know she’s got to do what she thinks right,
but it makes me mad when I see her hurting.
So when I went flat-footin’ with Albert
I wore my Dolly boobs just for fun.
I was up on stage moving fast, my body
melting into lights and night air, the fiddle
racing up my spine, those boobs just thrashing
to get out, so I thought, Okay
this is for May.
I reached in my blouse
and grabbed one out, threw it to Albert
in the audience. He was surprised alright
but he laughed. That man’s reflexes are good.
So I threw him the other. Watching those breasts
sail, nipples and all, over that many heads,
I felt like a girl again, glad to be alive and dancing and free. I did it
for May—,and for me.