The regions of the pancreas that contain its endocrine (i.e., hormone-producing) cells.

This stinging-nettle prickle
beneath my skin,
this sweat blossom
between my breasts,
this struggling for
breath that drags
any air reaching my lungs
through fourteen layers
of filtering muslin
call it hormones.

Call the light-headedness
oxygen deprivation,
the tendency to blush,
hot flashes. Say:
“It’s very common
in women, of a certain age.”

Don’t answer when
they ask “How old?”

Call the sudden,
sharp urge to fuck
a yearning for youth,
a mid-life crisis,
work through it
clinging to
and looking over
familiar shoulders;
breathe your tight, urgent gasps
into familiar ears.

Call that particular familiarity
by its true name, love,
so you can call the
other aberration madness.
Call it hormones.
Ignore the stimulus,
the presence that
prompts the symptoms.
Call that coincidence;
just don’t call it desire.
Don’t call it attraction.
Foolish woman, old woman,
don’t call it lust.

Part of the Anatomy Project.