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, see

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.