Her hand between my thighs

the cruelest month

talking about Eliot, Joyce,
her hand cupping
my uterus like an overripe pear. Outside

it snows white petals:
blossoms from Bradford pears
and fat flakes far too late
in the season. It was snowing that day

when the word cancer took shape
and multiplied under the microscope.

Her hand
on the speculum
her hand
with the hole punch. She cuts
soft bits of me like paper

and I bleed.


You wonder if you’ll ever be able to explain
what happened,
how blood ran rivulets
down your legs, pooled on the white tile floor
stuck in the grout. You wonder if you should put

on the line indicating pregnancy on the medical form.
The word miscarriage
cramps. Your cervix opens

cut away like a child’s snowflake. You wonder
if there will be anything left
to keep the child inside.


April, another waiting
room, another doctor’s hand
and me

stirrupped. Chaste tree
I tell her, vitamin C.
Her hand
on the pen now, writing.

Normal, she says,

and I think of the pills
lined up next to the juice glass
the thermometer (pink) on the bedside table
the box of test sticks (blue) in the bathroom.

She tells me to write
all of it
draw circles and connect the dots.
She tells me

the shape of a baby

is a word on white paper
a word I’m not ready to name.

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