So I walked in on her changing one day
Not that I’m
It was two o’clock and time for pain
Unknown to me she had stepped out of the shower
Choking on my own embarrassment
I managed to peel my eyes off of her chest
Two open wounds
And no breasts
So this is what cancer looks like
In the flesh….
F.uck. I didn't think it would hit me so hard. This is really brutal, this picture you've conjured: a woman with holes as breasts. I can only just imagine it, and I know that would be horrible in all ways psychologically speaking.
I'm not saying you wrote this horribly; in fact, I think the opposite... and it's because of this brevity that made it hit so much more quickly.
Because of the other commenters' thoughts regarding certain parts which didn't seem to mesh, I'll tell you why I think it did instead...
"So I walked in on her changing one day
Not that I’m
--I think that saying "not that I'm gay" gives this an automatically conversational air, the fact that it's a normal thought to walk in on someone of the same sex: the "oh hell, oops, I'm not gay, it was just an accident, sorry" sort of inner dialogue I was perceiving. All in all, this was an opener which made me wonder what this would all unfurl into.
"It was two o’clock and time for pain"
--This, as a defining statement after the intro, really works in a lot of ways: first, as establishing a timeline; second, for connecting this timeline with a clever pun, in reference to the upcoming 'pain' you outline after this.
"Not knowing she had gotten out the shower
Choking on my own embarrassment
I managed to peel my eyes off of her chest"
--This segues in with what you had before all of this; this is the meat of the equation, the "well, damn, wtf, oh sh.it, I shouldn't have looked but I did, and oops... hell, I'm uncomfortable right now" feeling.
"Two open wounds
And no breasts"
--Ouch, and oh my god, I feel so much empathy for someone like this... no, it's not pity, but maybe it is, but it truly is a feeling where I think anyone could guess the inestimable amount of mental torture this would do to someone's self-esteem, let alone the inevitable medical outcome after struggling for what seems like eternity... to finally... have it all end. I think, without knowing any cancer patients/victims personally myself, that this would be the ultimate grief: to know that you're only on an extended timeline as far as quality and quantity of life is concerned.
"So this is what cancer looks like
In the flesh…."
--This is the realization for you, and also the epiphany to and for the reader, as you deliver the bomb right at the poetic end. This realization that it could happen to anyone is what makes life strangely far more pure, and worth living for, in my opinion... that... this may happen to any of us, and nothing can really stop it, barring some fabulous wonder-drug-elixir yet to be created (but will it really, considering the nature of cancer being a disease that essentially mutates the cellular structure of our bodies?)...
Hell, I've rambled enough. I think this was powerful, and even more so because you wrote it in as few words as possible to get maximum impact. I will, however, agree, that the title could be something far more monumental, but something that doesn't give it away. A suggestion? *thinks*... "changing room", "so this is what it looks like" (this one is a strong candidate for me, owing to the mystique of it all), and... "we're lucky, aren't we?"... I just think that "privacy" is too generic and not inviting enough for a reader to think about too hard. Also, shouldn't it be "gotten out (of) the shower"? Up to you, but yea... flows a bit better grammatically, that's all.
But all in all, you know this is a great piece, don't you? It makes me think, and consider the implications...
I believe you have a very powerful message to bring here and i doubt that the title does any justice to it. To be honest, the title portrays a general thought. It could be about anything and it could be about nothing. You should try putting a unique idea in the poem. A one of a kind title that will attract the piece for what it really is worth.
The piece itself, very image provoking; something that will stay in mind for a long while. I don't think the idea of being gay suits the entire image of accidentaly walking in a person who has cancer and understand what that disease does to the body. I think you should stick with the accidental walk in and the effect that it brought on you. That in itself is a very powerful imagery.
Other than that, i have never been exposed to people who have cancer although i am sure there are people around that do have cancer. I feel that supporting those people emotionally will make them feel more comfortable.
You've done nice. I really enjoyed your piece.
I think the only downfall that this writing has is the flow is a bit off. I couldn't get a rhythm going in my head with it, and usually I'm able to do that in a poem... but maybe I'm just not seeing the beat that other people can see or whatever.
But wow. This is short, but beautiful... Tragic, and emotional. And really, informative, although it's kind of sad that it's informative, because that means that there are a shockingly high number of people in this world that don't know the after-effects of breast cancer... Which is really something that people should, as a whole, know more about, since it's a very serious matter.
You know, this actually could probably be passed as an excerpt from a book about someone who has a family member that's dealing with the terrible disease.