Saturday, September 11, 2010


I'm having difficulty with the word breakthrough
it's as if I'm having an argument with it
and, to be honest, it's not a fair, rational argument
because breakthrough just rubs me the wrong way
like someone you just don't like
because everything about them just turns you off

granted, I did concede there is wisdom in through
you have to work through your problems
it usually fails if you avoid them or try to go around
looking for some shortcut, an easier path
but everything else about breakthrough rankles me

military breakthroughs are violent, penetrative acts
and, frankly, so are medical breakthroughs
we like to think of doctors as healers
following the oath of first doing no harm
but that's just a pretty myth to believe in

surgeons can do amazing things, I know that now
but to an eight-year-old, they're just butchers
slicing you open, breaking you to fix you
and I have the scars to prove it, so don't argue
don't give me some line like surgeons save lives

a surgeon didn't save my father's life
that bit of useless butchery just drained him more
and the cancer took him that much faster
so I don't want to hear your thoughtless philosophy
because if you do, I'll show you my scars
and I'll bare my heart to you and show you
the hole there left by my father's passing

a surgeon didn't save my life when I was eight
but left me forever changed, limping along
broken inside, and knowing I had to be broken
so that I could be fixed, like some faulty machine
and all these years, the mending has been slow
accomplished without the help of any surgeon
the daily tenderness supplied by nurses and my parents

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to the breakthrough prompt at Writer's Island.


  1. Interesting that both of our "Breakthrough's" involve missing our fathers, I am sorry for your loss.

  2. Amanda, I was thinking the same thing when I read your poem, that we both dealt with our fathers. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Never thought of breakthroughs as anything but positive....this changes the whole texture of the word. Now I am sad...guess that makes it a good writing.....kinda wish it wasn't

  4. woih, thanks for commenting on my poem. Sorry for bringing you down. On revision, this poem may have a happier ending. There's more I was thinking of writing; I'm just not sure if it's another poem in and of itself or part of this one.

  5. I've lost my own parents so this struck a chord. It's good to write about it sometimes; and sometimes it's not.

  6. You've talked a lot of sense in this poem, and there's no need to apologise for expressing your grief.

    On a lighter note, I was operated on by (I think) a plumber when I was 10, with the result that I have never been able to wear a bikini, not even when I was young and slim.

  7. laughinghousewife and viv, thanks for commenting on my poem. I hadn't intended it to be a poem about grief, but it did go in that direction. It's still difficult to talk/write about the loss of my father. I appreciate what you both said. I'm not apologizing for my grief, but for the sadness the poem may cause. At the same time, I'd be surprised if it didn't engender sadness.

  8. this was a strong write….i'll show you my scars…fantastic words you use to let us have a deep look into your soul -amazing - really like it a lot!

  9. Claudia, thank you for your kind words. Thanks for picking up on that - I really meant that both literally and figuratively - about showing my scars. I'm glad you liked it.