Whistle What Can’t Be Said

by Charlotte Matthews

During radiation nothing gives—
all the steel and glass and plaster.
The machine closer and closer
until it’s an inch from the absent breast—

Why can’t I say what happened?
I’m trying to—but I’ve been instructed
not to move, not even a millimeter,
or the radiation will reach my heart.

All I want is to hear my neighbor
call his cows home at dusk, to see him
touch their bellies, feel the fur
that swirls between their eyes.

Author of two full length collections, Still Enough to Be Dreaming and Green Stars (both Iris Press), CHARLOTTE MATTHEWS’ Whistle What Can’t Be Said is forthcoming from Unicorn Press. Recently her work has appeared in such journals as American Poetry Review, The Mississippi Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Ecotone. Her honors include fellowships from The Chatauqua Institute, The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and The Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Currently she teaches writing in The Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Program at The University of Virginia.