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Lauren Page

Wednesday night UTI

The lab bathroom’s broken at MedExpress;
I use the one in the waiting room where
a man observes me uncomfortably.
He averts his eyes when I pass by ‘cause
I carry a contaminated sherry
of cloudy pink pee with tissue debris
that settles to the bottom. I settle
onto crinkled tissue paper spread
over a sterile blue bed and the nurse
guesses my weight thirty-two pounds too high
before the doctor comes in with cracked lips,
eager to palpate my bladder and write
a Macrodantin prescription before
my urine sample has even been scored.

Missed Periods

The doctor asking
Any chance you are pregnant?

makes you remember
that sex has lost its danger

without the risk of
procreation: colorless.

That you will never
pee on a pregnancy test

and wait for pink lines
to appear. You’d count them: one.

That your partner
has suggested adopting

a cat and naming
him Children, so you could sing:

Children, come and eat.
Children, let me trim your nails.

That your mother called
from the grocery store, crying;

she’d seen a couple
with a baby in their cart.

That your body tore,
dilated with its want and

branded by its own
neon red vacancy sign.

On Sunday,

the red-haired woman on his right side
glares at me out of the corner of her blue eye.
She wears a layer of gangrene eye shadow and
the veins in her cheek are as clear and branched as a river on a map.
The pink light hitting my yellow sheets makes her skin glow autumn.

He sleeps through the soft scrapes of my dying BIC,
and I pardon the upturn of her nose while I blow O’s

from the edge of the bed; I can see the dull, weed-pillaged yard.
I am fond of a mushroom that sits by the sidewalk,
craters in its skin encasing acorns fallen from our huge Oak.
A paper plate has never looked as pale and empty
as the one caught under the wheel of my car,
alongside forgotten red Solo cups,
some still half-filled with liquid the color of renal failure.

He wakes organically, blooming in this foggy bedroom
above East Roanoke Street.
And when he turns onto his right side, the red-haired woman
is replaced by another slate of meaningless tattoos.

➥ Bio