Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities


Laura Wendorff
Platteville, Wisconsin, United States


Your friend says,

Photo by Laura Wendorff

think of the Amazons
who cut off their right breasts
in order to easily
draw back their bows.

But the loss is not like that.

It’s more like a flower dug out of the ground,
soil still clinging to its roots like the memory
of heavy clay and earthworms.


Reconstruction, your surgeon says

but discernment is never clear nor easy:
can the blade restore what the blade has stolen?
can feeling be where feeling is forgotten?


Perhaps your friend, after all, is right.

You imagine the Amazons
pulling their bow strings taut,
with so little interference,
that the memory of their loss
is subsumed by the reality of their gain.

You imagine affliction, loss, and fear
covered with breath, light, and the continuity of
brown and green

like the Amazons covered their wounds with
mud and damp moss, until the pain
receded into the night
and morning came at last



LAURA C. WENDORFF is professor of English, Ethnic Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. She has been published in several journals, including After the Pause, Bluestem, Door Is A Jar, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Minetta Review, Sanskrit Literary-Arts Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Spillway, Temenos, Two Cities Review, Voices de la Luna, and Wisconsin Poets Calendar. Wendorff’s essay “Worth The Risk: Writing Poetry About Children With Special Needs” was nominated for a Best of the Net Award and the Pushcart Prize. Laura also enjoys growing flowers, playing the piano, and has been a member of the same book club for over a decade.


Winter 2019   |   Sections  |  Poetry

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