by Meg Thompson

Sunday mornings are for my mom to call,
say my 97-year-old great aunt who can't
see because she has macular degeneration,
can't hear because she's 97 is in the hospital
again and the nursing home wants to know
what to do because she's the P.O.A.
How should I know, she says. I can
evaluate a beef cow, a sheep, not a person
When she asks what's new I want to say
during a colposcopy, they sprinkle vinegar
on the cervix because it turns lesions white,
fills the room with the cold scent of acid,
and makes your ass feel like an order
of fries at the state fair. I bled so much
during mine, the nurse, who high-fived me
at the end, asked if I took aspirin everyday,
then pulled three tampons, thick as rock-climbing rope,
from a well I didn't even know I had so deep
in my body I thought that is where my soul is.
Afterwards I went to the mall to do something
mundane, even though the core of me ached,
but also felt empty, warehouse-like,
and I wondered how nothingness could cramp.
For days I had a discharge of dark grain,
like coffee grounds, seeping from my body as I slept.
I want to ask her what the worst pain is, knowing
she's given birth to five children without epidurals
and once sliced her finger off in a haybine.
But I don't and she says that dad, who will be 65
in a month, tried to sign up for Social Security
but didn't make an appointment so he sat
and waited at the office for three hours.
Isn't that dumb? I want to tell her I don't feel that well
anymore, the way I could so clearly the day
I was swabbed like the canal of a flute
after band practice. She ends by filling me in
about the new doorknob they bought
because they were having problems
keeping the front door closed and one night
dad came home to a chicken perched on the stovetop.
I asked him if it laid an egg, but it didn't.

Meg Thompson lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Her chapbook, Farmer, is forthcoming from Kattywompus Press. Recently her work has appeared in Box of Jars, Juked, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, PANK, and Yew.

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