Trying to read poetry in the break-room
while others thumb magazines, share
conjugal woes and workplace legends.

I settle into a quiet corner in one of the exam rooms
where earlier I offered counsel to a pregnant
teen. I don’t hide that I love poetry or that I’m a lesbian,

but I don’t really think anyone is interested.
This morning, I did ultrasound exams, measuring
the length of fetuses and gestational sacs.

This one wants to see and I show her
the crown and rump of her baby; although
she can’t really see what I see, which is a perfectly

formed yawning and stretching fetus, fists curled,
about 4 months along. If it’s more than 3 months,
I don’t want to go through with it. The abortion,

she means. She seems pleased but when I tell her
she should stop drinking and smoking, at least
for the duration, she says, Oh, I didn’t think 

of that. And off she goes to her new life.
I wish her well. I used to think I should hide
my longings, but of course no one notices

I read poetry during lunch or steal
off into a quiet exam room to write.
All these years of hiding and no one really cared.


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