After the mastectomy, my uncle said they were smooth as the underside of a frog. Said it like we were sitting over beer in a husky pub, our
profiles silhouetted by bar lamps overhung—but it was just our couch
and my parents were there and he was talking to them and not me, drunk on choking back snot and tears—and so looking at a child, who looks intently back. She was a stoic. The walls of her face mortared, held. Shoulder blades jutted aerodynamically from her body. Her pinched posture was a cottoned nosebleed. I searched the room for something to stare at, settling on the tile cracks while the grown-ups talked and ate small sandwiches and petit fours. When it was over, we tossed them a slight wave from the door frame. Smiling, like good Samaritans, proud of our kindness.