todavía estoy aquí (I am still here)

like a marred and tattered canvas - i stand
as if an unfortunate embodiment of an artist's satire
formerly known as youth and beauty

a road map of scars marks the long and winding roads of a journey
each one telling unspoken tales
and serving as a reminder of an uncertain future

the left breast - perfectly sized and eternally perky
nearly flawless but for the absent nipple
and the faded scar sweeping diagonally upwards

accompanied by tiny, nearly indiscernible circles
along the left side of the body where drains once existed
each mark whispering softly of a girl in her twenties

who had made mistakes - lost her way
and endeavored desperately to find meaning and hope
in what turned out to be the wrong places

the taut yet never impeccably flat abdomen seems a figment of the imagination
replaced by the still fresh marks left after removing traces of the demon
and the assurance of children never to be conceived

perpetual souvenirs of the ironically life-saving masses
that screamed for attention and started the whirlwind
that tested the body and soul once again

murmurs of a girl in the twilight of her thirties
who had taken the road less traveled still learning to heal scars deeper
than those able to be captured by a photograph or a paintbrush

untimely evolution of metabolism and elasticity
potentially unseen by observers
all too apparent to the soul that resides in the metamorphosis of the body

the alternate voice of these wordless tales spoken by the corporeal road map
tells of skin tougher than an ancient elephant's hide and
brass bound resolve to emerge the victor of each battle

only the closest observation exposes the eternal flame of hope
burning in the eyes that have seen more than they have ever wanted
sharing the quietly thunderous roar of faith and life and love with the willing beholder