The naked woman in the video I study—double
mastectomy—tosses me into possibility,
presses the soft muscle of what remains
of self against self, sternum and rib
shucked clean by surgical steel. She stands sculpted,
a torso hewn to scarred catastrophe—
emptied parentheses. The Mayans called it zero,
this mussel shell emptied of its muscle
set azure side up on night’s window sill.
No barnacle blemish or starfish bore mars
its heft and concentric stretch now less than
half of whole still glistening. I pick it up.
Can ever such depletion feel full again?
A fixed place from which to measure,
numinous as a shell slick with brine and grace.