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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