narrative feminism

With Death in My Own Breast

The cracked leather held pain in its divots

of a body full of inclination

to rise, to heal,

to be without struggling to be.


Soundlessly, routines did shift—

a school absence for once unwanted;

she heard thunder

even in the whispers of steps.


Alone in the chair, tension froze painted on her face,

her brain concerned—even in sleep—

of the battle plan for a war won only by

strategic casualties.


She paid with clumps of hair I never saw fall,

Stopped by shower drains,

Sitting where she once could stand.

I cried when you could not climb the stairs.


I do not understand your weakness.


I wait with death in my own breast,

And bated breath in my own throat,

Prepared to accept survivor status

Passed to me like participation trinkets.


I did not sign up for this game

Or spin the wheel for this feral lottery

That puts me pillowtalking with a serial killer.

Yet you shook hands with the reaper.


Fear becomes a familiar bedfellow

As we debate seven years versus ten

Of capsule poison meant to cure.

I once said “blue” so much it ceased to be a word.


I do not understand your strength.

— Amanda Chiu

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