The woman’s ways is not accepted by others. She is tired of feeling like she has to prove herself to others. But toward the end she declares that it’s her turn to watch others suffer as she has before.
“My ears heard
I didn’t believe them.”
This portion of the poem leads me to believe that she is going to lose something that is important to her. Toward the end she informs the reader that what she was afraid of losing has been taken away from her.
The definition of the title, Mastectomy- the surgical removal of a breast, chiefly in cases of breast cancer; an instance of this.
The title could possibly represent that she feels as if she has metaphorically lost her womanhood.
The person in this poem seems to struggle with how she sees herself through her own eyes. The title represents the problem that the speaker is dealing with.
“Flesh is heretic.
My body is a witch.
I am burning it.”
The first stanza of the poem makes it apparent that she is not happy with her own body.
In this poem, the speaker wants to be sure that the next woman doesn’t let the man walk away like she has herself. She longs to be with him but is sure that he is better off with someone else.
“brightening of the bath, have I done this. Again and again this.”
This could refer to how one has been forgiven of their sins, but again and again strays away and commits sin. The serpent in the title relates to what some call the enabler of sin. In spite of staying clean, the speaker continues to make the same mistakes.
“She might be a pedestrian in traffic.”
This quote reflects on the idea that the woman in the kitchen is oblivious to the danger around her. In traffic, the pedestrians always has the right of way. But some pedestrians are unaware of the risk they take when stepping into traffic. The woman’s problems with life seem to resemble the problems the pedestrians have in traffic.
I think that this woman loses sight of what she really wants in life. She believes that the memories of her youth will help her recapture what she wants to accomplish.
I believe that the mentioning of roses represents death. The white roses specifically represent sympathy. This poem makes me believe that the the bride dies before they are married or right after they are married. Maybe the garden they tend to in this poem is in honor of the lost bride?
It seems as if the photograph on his desk depicts a good memory. It begins by letting us know it’s summer. When summer is mentioned, it usually means it’s a time filled with passion and love. (from “How to Read Literature Like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster) This may have been his best memory of the woman he loves. He is excited to see her as he is “coming down the path with arms wide open. Laughing.” The beginning seems to be a happier time and then instantly switches into a darker time, which is when the memory this photograph holds begins to fade.