The receptionist hands me a survey:
How many sexual partners have you had?
Are they male or female? I lie
like I always do. The magazine in the waiting room
tells me that I can get a flat stomach
from a diet of quinoa and asparagus. My stomach
is not flat. It hangs over the front of my jeans
like a coin purse bursting with organs. The doctor
asks if I have a boyfriend, if he treats me nice,
while she spreads my legs. One foot
into the stirrup, then the other. You may experience
some slight discomfort. A shock of cold metal
disrupts my breath, curls my toes
while the exam table paper crinkles
beneath bare flesh. I have opinions
about the instrument of violence
holding my body open, its history
too brutal for metaphor, but I keep them
to myself. The doctor makes me laugh while her hand
is inside me and it’s just like love, except she is also
scraping cells from my cervical canal.
When she’s done, she leaves the room while I re-dress
under the guise of modesty, as though
she was not just elbow-deep in the warmest
parts of me. I pray that my results will come back
clear, that my cells will not be found wanting.
I leave the office, microscopically smaller
than I was before.