Aching – Amy Lauren

On the waiting room video,
                                                                                              a woman slices chicken
breasts, oil seeping into her
                                                                                              bamboo cutting board. Blunt
knives are safer, my mom always said.
                                                                                              nurse calls me back
I wonder what my new doc will say
                                                                                              to me, tripping over myself
asking over and over again
                                                                                              how much, not if, it will hurt.
Her tool is blunter, but frightens
                                                                                              with its thickness, hopefully clean, and
entry beats a dull thrust. My cheek
                                                                                              sticks to sanitary paper as I turn,
bite my lip to withhold gasps.
                                                                                              You’re doing great,
doc reassures. My lip cracks, I taste
                                                                                              a hint of blood—the same secret
recipe everywhere. It’s better
                                                                                              with blood in the mix.
On the waiting room video,
                                                                                              a woman slices chicken,
I see her when I shut my eyes.
                                                                                              What else can I fixate on
in this sterile room, barb twisting
                                                                                              between my legs? I look down, seem
my white knuckles, shaky enough to fear
                                                                                              blunt objects. Finally doc slips
the tool out of me and, as I’m aching,
                                                                                              for the first time in twenty-five years
someone explains my body to me.
                                                                                              Just thirty seconds of pain, and nothing
is broken down there. There’s no reason
                                                                                              I shouldn’t have children—she knows
someone in St. Pete would help
                                                                                              lesbian moms. And I’ll carry just fine,
she says. Not with that kind of pain,
                                                                                              I joke, but I’m lying. God’s un-
likely plan for me
                                                                                              made this body perfectly.