Estrogen Gives and Estrogen Takes

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September 23, 2021 by The Citron Review

by Megan Lim



The winter is greying upon us, prying
its way in. We pray for snow, for sun.

Anything but this bone chill.
My mother takes off the silver wig

hangs it on the door’s edge
and lies on my basement couch.

The third day after chemo
is always the worst
, she curls

into the broken blue
futon—I wish I had more to give her.



Upstairs, my baby chases me
begging for milk, like a bird

looking for somewhere to land.
She suckles softly, droopy-eyed,

drapes for lashes, we are yoked.
For breast in Latin is mama.

As my mother once was: I am an oak of a woman,
I am egg in egg in egg; I am a river

of life. And yet, this holy womanhood
has a cost. One day, femininity will turn

against me, as my mother before me,
breasts will go sour with cancer; locks of hair

will untether, covering coats and couches;
estrogen will feed the bloodhounds

until my body, fragile as a bird, curls into itself.
Although she is sleeping only one floor below

me, I ache for my mother. And outside,
the rain turns to snow.


Megan Lim is an MFA graduate from Brigham Young University in Utah. She enjoys teaching writing, being with her husband and daughters, and cycling. Her pieces are published and forthcoming in Inscape: A Journal of Art and Literature, Literature and Belief, The Pinch, and elsewhere.



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