Dale Harris is a survivor of breast cancer.
In July of 2000, she was part of a juried exhibit of
artwork by women artists who are breast cancer survivors, at the Governor's Gallery - an
outreach facility of the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of New Mexico, a Division of the
Office of Cultural Affairs. The purpose of the exhibit "On Borrowed Time,
translations of life with breast cancer", was to provoke awareness of this
disease. Since the original show, the artists decided to organize into a non-profit
group and continue exhibiting their work, forming a reader's theater as well. The
group is called "On Borrowed Time: Creativity and Healing".
My breast is a cup passed by the high priests.
Something is wrong, something unhealthy,
Even unholy there.
They skry with their machines, palpate and probe,
Speak in voices low with concern,
Ask formal questions of me, about my diet,
My family history, and when did I first notice
The change and was there any pain.
I want to laugh but don't, I show respect.
What woman is without pain?
Whose body has no hurt?
I appreciate them, busy priests and priestesses,
Of Gynecology, Radiology, Surgery, Pathology.
With my consent, their students come into the room,
Eager to learn. I remember being one of them.
I think but I do not say that this breast is tired.
So many children and lovers were there,
Come for passion and for milk,
And this breast more than the other
So tired and ashamed of pleasure.
I wonder but I do not ask
What kind of blouse to wear
The day that I return for them
To cut the breast away.