He will not smile as he invites me to sit,
taps keys, studies
my medical history on the screen
that doesn’t—quite—perch between us,
isn’t—quite—barrier but, nonetheless,
protects him.
It is not the roiling of my stomach,
he’ll ask about,
not the dread
rising like acid to my throat:
not the queasiness I pretend
is condition, not symptom;
these are not things that
concern him today.

Instead he’ll (oh, God!)
confirm that blue cross,
relay, with conscientious
attention to medical detail,
position, prognosis,
each upcoming procedure.
I, unheeding, will
fold hands tight
across my churning guts,
try not to read the future in the way they twist.

Part of the Anatomy Project

Ab*do"men (#), n. [L. abdomen (a word of uncertain etymol.): cf. F. abdomen.]

1. (Anat.)

The belly, or that part of the body between the thorax and the pelvis. Also, the cavity of the belly, which is lined by the peritoneum, and contains the stomach, bowels, and other viscera. In man, often restricted to the part between the diaphragm and the commencement of the pelvis, the remainder being called the pelvic cavity.

2. Zool.

The posterior section of the body, behind the thorax, in insects, crustaceans, and other Arthropoda.


© Webster 1913.

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