“Grapefruits and Oranges”

The ultrasound reveals a pooling of fluid along my C-section scar. There is a golf ball-sized polyp in my uterus, as well as a second smaller one, and a fibroid. The doctor asks me what I would like to do when we sit back in his office. He talks in terms of fruit, says the uterus is like an orange and some polyps grow as large as grapefruits. I suddenly crave a tall glass of orange juice, something citrus, and I smile at these fruit terms. But then when describing location he mentions the cul de sac.

I raise my eyebrows. “That is actually a medical term,” he assures me. I look at the diplomas on the wall and wonder where this guy went to medical school. Cul de sac makes me think of neighborhood and the house I had to leave; I suddenly feel sad.

I tell him I’m afraid my ex-husband might stop paying my medical insurance, and that maybe I can wait for it to get worse before I do anything. This time he uses a pencil analogy to show me the thickness of the metal cannula that he will insert when the biopsy is done, because if I wait to have the polyp removed, then he needs to rule out cancer. And all I can think is that I prefer pens; I never use pencils to write because the sound of a pencil point against paper bothers me. I picture him inserting a pencil beyond my cervix and into my uterus, then scraping away words and cells.

I wonder if there are poems inscribed in the uterine lining. Did my four boys leave messages for me, or plant seeds all those years before that now have matured into a forest of polyps and fibroids?

About Maureen Sherbondy

Maureen Sherbondy's two recent poetry books are Beyond Fairy Tales and Eulogy for an Imperfect Man. Her short story collection is The Slow Vanishing. She teaches English at Alamance Community College. Find out more at www.maureensherbondy.com