Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Leslie Anne Mcilroy: Call Back

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

5 comments on “Leslie Anne Mcilroy: Call Back

  1. Audrey Kalman
    February 4, 2021

    This encapsulates what I loved about the poems in “Slag.” Simple and devastating.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Barbara Huntington
    February 2, 2021

    Powerful. Bring to mind all the friends who have lost and won. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      February 3, 2021

      Yes, we’ve all lost loved ones to cancer…

      Liked by 2 people

    • Leslie Anne Mcilroy
      February 3, 2021

      Thank you, Barbara. It feels important that it connected with you.

      Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2021 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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