The way the nurse sits with her hands

folded in her lap, her eyes small

in their puffy sockets. In her lilting

voice there is a sense of divineness.

My hands clasp a paper cup.

When the water’s gone, I chew

the edges. Please give me potion.

I want to say it. I know there was a time

I wanted to be plywood, swallow splinters

for breakfast, but look how empty

my hands are.

Does she gaze at my hands,

tracing the lines of my palm?

marbles of sweat, Girdle Of Venus.

I beg her to say that it means abandon

them and follow the beaded curtain

She puts her hand to my back

with the stethoscope, tells me to breathe

deep. Does she think I am

coming to worship with

the way my hands are splayed?

Look at this line, does it mean I

will be consumed by the cage

inside my body?

Dear line of health, finger of jupiter,

tell me something new. I am tired

of who I am in waiting rooms.

Haley Olds