Saturday, October 29, 2016

Pink Afternoon

It may be good, at this time, when a woman seeking power is skewered
every possible way by people with half her brain and ability,
when I want to rear-end the skinny young kid in the backwards baseball cap
whose white SUV bears a “Trump that bitch” bumper sticker,
it may be good to check out of the newsfeed and enter the world of pink robes
for a Friday afternoon of herbal tea in the pastel waiting room
while a doctor reads the images of the heterogeneously dense breasts
that earned me a callback to once again have that machine press them down
like panini and I’m told to hold my breath and then let it go and I must
close my eyes and make that tiny whimper that remains inside my palate
like the sound of a prehistoric couple having sex in a cave, but here it’s all
so civilized, all of us pink ladies (yes, I know some men get mammograms)
reading our magazines or in my case Bad Feminist, title in a light pink font
on the otherwise white cover, but here we are pink and white, pink and beige,
pink and brown, pink and silver—there’s that butch woman who works
where I work and has been power-walking on her lunch break since before
my adult daughter was born, and she’s slim as a wick and small-chested
which means it was probably more painful for her, as it was for me
when I was thinner and had smaller breasts; there are grandmothers, too,
but what do I mean, since I could have been a grandma 20 years ago
if reproductive years are truly reproductive years; some woman my age
bends over me to find a magazine, technically invading my space,
but here there is some slack for that, and the sun just floods the room
as though we’re in the same studio as the perky women’s voices
on the daytime talk show that’s too low for me to hear enough to follow.
I always consider this a sacred ritual, and I’m glad the hospital agrees
by making it as pleasant a place as possible for possibly discovering that
the things on your mind when you parked the car are suddenly unimportant.
The ladies in pink robes know what I’m talking about, all have cupped
their breasts alone and thought about them as friends or foes
or simply something that’s theirs, geological as a nose. In 2016,
we may have our first woman president; there are still two weeks to go.
It will certainly not have been easy. That kind of clamping scrutiny,
that kind of bitter attack is just history sticking its moth-eaten face
through the screen and reminding us of something our mothers told us,
based on what our grandmothers told them, and on back to that cave
where a couple had sex, or perhaps a man grabbed a woman, pushed her
down and mounted her, not caring how she felt about this, unequipped
to believe in much beyond fighting enemies, killing food, getting laid,
and maintaining position. All of this is screened out in the pink afternoon,
through this floral diffusion of preventive health care for women.
I want to break the sisterly silence to say something about how lucky
we are that we don’t have to rely on Planned Parenthood for this,
but who knows which of us has a malignancy and needs to save her energy?

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