portion of the artwork for Jeanann Verlee's comments

Jeanann Verlee’s Comments

When someone implies you are dead—the murdered child of Medea—you take notice. The piece “mother, if in a museum” was ignited by a rendering of my mother, gruesomely transformed. I was cautioned at the reveal, but couldn’t possibly have been prepared for the image. When I noted the title of the piece, I nearly punched the artist. The ghastly and editorial artwork was a kick to the sternum. Yet, eerily accurate.

While researching mastectomies online, I stumbled onto a shocking photo of a severed breast on a medical tray. When I was a girl, my aunt let me touch her mastectomy scar. She said it tickled. Not long after that, she passed away. I’ve never forgotten the feel of that scar, nor the impact of seeing the female body butchered. Not until I saw that photo did I ponder where her breast had gone. Nor what stories it would’ve told about where it had been. I wrote “cleave” in homage.

The original intent when I sat to write “the telling” was to draft some form of apology to the man who appears in the piece. However, the poem—as often happens—decided it wanted something else, becoming instead a simple detail of what happened while trying to recount a terrible event. (For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.)

Each of these poems appears in my book, Racing Hummingbirds (Write Bloody Publishing, 2010).


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 29 | Summer 2010