Comments from Brenda:
For me, “want” is a crucial word. This is a poem of wishing for change, and hoping that what one does, however small a gesture, might translate into something positive.
By saying “I want”, the speaker suggests that there’s a gap between the ideal and the real. We often long to do something that we know is impossible – doesn’t stop the longing, however. Realistically, she can’t wear this bra as it’s a work of art, and she can’t assume her mother’s pain. Flowers can’t really be sisters, and the earth won’t know or care what clothing we put on. But the thoughts are there; the symbolism is strong. In the end, “I want to imagine” suggests an element of doubt. The children’s future might be beautiful; it might also be warped and damaged by environmental catastrophes we can’t predict yet.
L5 is so immensely moving. The waning of the moons suggests not only death, but loss of a woman’s very sense of femininity (lunar cycles/fertility). Many cancer patients worry about this kind of loss. They fear that the removal of a breast or a womb or ovaries will somehow make them less desirable, less womanly. We’ve been conditioned to judge our own femaleness by the organs we possess. Instead, the bra has flowers! We are women no matter what parts of our bodies may be afflicted or taken away.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is September. What a fitting poem for both of these causes.
I have no suggestions. This is a simple and direct poem. Its voice is the voice of every woman. It is very honest as a result.