“At Planned Parenthood”

momentary glare at the pale blue seat
clinical plastic, hopefully
less absorbent of human debris, people dust
than its upholstered companion
health check becomes counter productive
vitamin C lozenge, pray against the odds
didn’t qualify for a free flu shot
knee bounces, nervous energy
short of time, like everyone else
try not to breath the diseased air
find solace on paper

upon entry, noticed construction of some sort
its purpose, yet unknown
little more than noise pollution, until
power goes out –
in comes worker, met by unimpressed secretary
“Y’all dun hit somethin, didn’t ya?” she asked
her hands rested comfortably on her hips
as if this stance was familiar
“Y’all lose power, too? Where’s your breaker box?”
hardhat-man replied
they have been searching for about 15 minutes

power returns, and the gentleman sitting across the room
(whom I have affectionately named “meth-mouth”)
starts in his seat when the television emits its awakening sounds
some competitive cooking show
featuring children as contestants,
each a tiny diva being groomed for stardom
10 year-old whines about his green tea cream puffs
9-year-old insists her raspberry tarts will win
my bladder reminds me of impending necessity
the door opens, clinician calls “Susan”
blonde girl-to-be in the skirt stands
baritone response “That’s me”
everyone has a life, an itinerary
appointments, minor catastrophes
bedlam in the city, every moment
just another day

hammers pound somewhere above
clinician returns, calls “Melissa”
I am weighed and measured
offered a series of numbers to
describe my walking fleshbeing
and I am told to wait

it has been 54 minutes
in the exam room
I notice another door
it’s not marked as a bathroom
but I am growing desperate
still, it could take me somewhere
that I’d much rather not go
or it could be a bathroom
I begin obsessively closing cabinet doors
attempt at distraction

I have now faced every label
on every bottle, every tube on the counter
any grocer would be proud
the pen is parallel
to the cotton swab-stick
my compulsion is satisfied
my bladder is not
the power has cut twice in the interim
but look! From the hallway door, a person!
“Hi, Pam, I’m your midwife, Tina!” She shook my hand
I shook my head “No”
“Let’s talk about your pregnancy!”
I stared.
“Oh wait, I’m in the wrong room!”

30 minutes later, I exit,
clutching my prescription refill
and remembering why
I dislike the outside world
it is beautiful for its chaos
and terrible to its inhabitants.
They cling desperately to order
to the idea of self-importance,
each insistent on being special
Yes, we are all kings
in our own castles
but remove us of place and we become
as lost as any other man

© M. Black, 2016 All rights reserved.



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