Bare, Naked

By Andrea Fisk Rotterman

October 3, 2016

Bare, Naked

Rain falls, dimpling puddles. 

I kick off my clogs. My toenails shine like sparkling pumpkin peel. I slide my underwear and jeans down my legs, unsnap my bra, pull my sweatshirt over my head, lay my folded clothes on my shoes. I cross my arms over my silicone implants, icy to the touch in the November chill. 

Isis, the photographer, is making portraits of 800 mastectomy survivors, the same number of breast cancer diagnoses in the United States each day. Her vision of beauty is inspired by Ancient Greek sculptures, pitted by weather and wind, missing a nose or an arm. 

She hands me a filmy gray scarf with silver sparkles. She directs me. Drape and tuck the scarf around your waist. Breathe from the bottom of your lungs. 

The shutter opens, closes. Sunlight and mirrors capture me. Behind me, walls of a tennis court weep water. Joules, her assistant, encourages. Hold that. Good. Look up. No birds sing. None. A few black birds sail between trees. 

I rise on my toes, arch my back, stretch towards tumbling slate clouds. 

Fantastic. You look like you want to bust out of there. How do you feel about taking the scarf off? 

Why not? What else do I have to lose? In truth, many treasures. But these scars are mine, I own them. 

I loosen the scarf from my waist, let it drop to my feet. I glide into a plié, raise my arms in a graceful arc over my head.


Photo "Bare, Naked" provided by Justin Norris via Flickr's Creative Commons licence.

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