Mastectomy: Another Kind of Damage by Erica Sternin


A canvas repeatedly slashed,
A national treasure ruined beyond repair….
Some fear the repair has ruined the painting.
Questions raised: why it took so long, cost so much.

Everything can be reversed – at their expense;
Restorations almost always need to be redone.

Radical repainting – “I can understand the impetus
When a work is severely damaged.”

People don’t accept the aging process –
Virtually impossible to create an illusion

An undamaged surface –
Eight big gashes through the canvas,

“I almost fainted when I saw it.”
Another Kind of Damage.

Certain questions could not be answered,
Which only invites more damage.

“He did a beautiful job of putting it back together,
Although I only saw it in the dark.”

Blackout poetry: an exercise where the author takes a piece of text and blacks out all but the words that she wants in her poem. This poem was created using the article Restoration Of a Painting Worries Dutch Art Experts. Michael Kimmelman. New York Times, 12/17/1991.


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