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The pink half-gown is tied wrong. I can’t figure out the strings. My nipples are hard in the fluorescent waiting room. They call Sylvia, then Jen. The mom shot the daughter’s husband by accident on the TV soap opera. There’s pleading & wringing of hands. When they call my name, I follow, do everything the mammographer says. I remove my arm from the gown, place my right breast on the glass. She manipulates/positions it exactly, gentle and precise, eyeing angles, raising my arm, rolling the clamp down slowly. It doesn’t really hurt as much as it hurts. I look the other way. She tells me to hold my breath. I am already holding my breath. Three times, they call me back in for another view/picture. I am wondering how artists ever see the whole of what they are painting. The fourth time, they say I am free to go. Thumbs up. I gather my stuff. In the dressing room, I press the gown deep into the laundry bin, mix it up with the other pink things. Hear “stage four” from outside the door. That was Melanie. Her gown was all fucked up, too.
Leslie Anne Mcilroy’s books include Slag (Main Street Rag, 2014). She lives and works in Pittsburgh.
Copyright 2021 Leslie Anne Mcilroy