YOUR BODY COMPLETES THE ENVIRONMENT
September 17, 2021
I spend three days a week in a photo lab.
On Tuesday, Peter comes in and pays $250 for four rolls of film to be scanned and put onto a USB that he does not bring himself
and I have to sell him one for $15 even though I know you can buy it cheaper elsewhere. He gives me a hard time and I say,
“I spend three days a week in this photo lab.”
When Peter leaves, I sit back at my workstation and feel a tightness
between my vagina and asshole.
I feed a roll of film through the scanner and the teeth of the film get hooked and are pulled into the machine like I want them to but I don’t have to ask.
I put a finger on the tight spot.
There’s a lump.
I can feel a lump, a lump between my vagina and asshole.
I use the work phone to book an appointment while my finger is still on the lump.
Urgently they let me.
When I hang up I bear down.
Here is where I adjust in all ways.
On my way to the doctor’s
I look across the street and see someone who is a little bit hot.
I want to see their face but there is a lamppost between us.
I am not irritated yet.
As we both walk at the steady pace we are both going
the pole stays between us
perfectly obstructing their face.
I keep watching, turning, turning, trying
to catch the face
but I only see the back of their head – finally –
with the lamppost remaining obstructing.
I feel a bit of anger that I will never know what this person actually looks like or if they were hot like I thought but the anger subsides and I go back to feeling FEAR about the lump.
Since I have time to think during my transit,
I think about these feelings and really actually reflect on them I let myself.
My other doctor who doesn’t look at my vagina and asshole but my brain instead told me to give names to these feelings but I don’t want to personify them to make them real.
I think about how she must be right though:
that I should personify them because I don’t personify this lump but I feel it anyway.
I get to the doctor’s office
“I’m here about the lump between my vagina and asshole”
and take a seat.
The receptionist brings me a towel after a moment:
“You can use this to cover up once you’re undressed in the room.”
“Naked,” I think.
I get called in and undress.
I put the towel in my backpack
and climb up to lay ass-up on the table.
The doctor eventually walks in and says,
“Oh, did the receptionist not give you a towel?”
The doctor moves on quickly to my ass area
“So… there’s a lump?”
“Yes, there’s a lump.”
“There?” The doctor asks, with a finger on the lump.
“That’s the lump,” I say.
“Sure is.” More taps.
“That’s right. Not bad, huh?” I say.
I feel sly and tricky
because I’m being so friendly and cooperative
and the towel is in my backpack.
The doctor goes on to
and s w i r llllll it with a finger
“I don’t know what this is. I’d have to cut into there to see what it is, and I don’t think you want that.”
The doctor (who is just a person)
snaps the gloves off and tosses them into the bin.
“You can get dressed now, it’s all fine. Don’t worry about the lump. Forget about it, even.”
I roll over and sit up all friendly and cooperatively.
Even though I am still naked I look steadily at the doctor (just a person).
“Wow that is so… said. Very said. You said it.”
The doctor (just a person) agrees and leaves me to get dressed.
I take my lump home with my new towel.
At home, I unpack and undress and put my nice new towel away and go to the bathroom.
I try to bend over and around to see the lump but I can’t.
It isn’t a lump like that, but I can feel it.
I consider putting a needle in to pop it but I don’t follow through.
I call my other doctor (also just a person) about the lump between my vagina and asshole, and he makes time for me.
While lying on the table, he puts on a headlamp
and asks the nurse to pass him one of the popsicle sticks they use to check your throat with so that he can poke the lump between my vagina and asshole with it.
He asks me to get dressed and gives me a referral to an ass specialist.
They give me a tiny piece of paper with a phone number and tell me to call it in two days.
Two hours later they call me and we book an appointment for a day in the next two weeks.
The third time I see a doctor (just a person) about the lump between my vagina and asshole, he asks me where it is
and I naturally say, “between my vagina and asshole”
and he doesn’t stop writing as he says “asshole” back to me but also to try it out himself, amused.
He says, “let’s have a look at your lump,” and I kneel down face down on a bed that goes down on an incline and puts my ass in the air and he says, “we call it the ski slope,” and then looks at my asshole and says, “there’s a lump.”
And I like the joke but I don’t laugh.
The doctor (who is just a person)
puts a finger and then a tube and then a camera and then some air into my asshole and then tells me to get dressed and sit back in the chair after he’s done taking it all out and tells me
I have hemorrhoids
and that I have to have soft poos and do I know how to do that and as I say, “drink olive oil?” he talks over me and says, “go to the store and get poo juice,” and I say what and he says poo juice and I say what are you saying and he says poo juice and I say are you saying poo juice and he says: “no, I’m saying prune, but you can call it that if you want.”
And he doesn’t give me a prescription but he tells me what to do
and I trust him because he’s a doctor but also a person but something about him seems sincere
and I think it’s just that he laughs at my jokes and that makes me feel secure in myself
so I decide I’ll do what he told me to do.
But I haven’t yet.
It’s Wednesday and I am back at work.
I watch the film roll through the machine
out into a circular pit,
wind itself back into place and pick it up.
I roll it around onto itself and put it back into the envelope.
I file it under the customer’s first name and then put a finger between my vagina and asshole and the lump is still there and it’s the same size as it was before.
VB doesn’t work at the photo lab anymore but the lump is still there.
September 17, 2021
everybody writes about
the moon and i wouldn’t
be surprised if she’s like
what the hell am i
supposed to do about all
how am i supposed to
stop a force so strong it
can break glass, ten,
twenty, times a day?
but this is a selfish poem.
the moon can take her
problems up with god.
i have problems too.
every day i’m asked to
apologize for the way
night makes wailing
babies, broken petals,
out of all of us.
i don’t mind being angry
for you, with you, on top
of you, glowing your
windowsills a soft blue.
i don’t mind getting the
silent treatment if you
don’t want to talk to me
it’s not your lack of so
and so and this and that.
i’m kinda tired of the way
people will ask if you’re
okay as long as you
tweet about being close
to the point of unalive. i’d
rather link up with ms.
moon and look at
pictures of bts’ jimin,
watch the ice unfurl into
a metaphor for desire
as yuri tells victor to
never take his eyes off
his woman man body.
you feel me, moon? i
hate the heaviness of
gender and i never
thought it would hurt this
much. i never thought
thinking would hurt this
much. i never thought
theory would hurt this
much. i thought i would
be fine. i wish i felt the
clean kind of sadness
they write about in
dystopian science fiction.
sadness for a cause.
sadness. when i got lice
in twelfth grade i was
afraid to be looked at so i
stopped speaking to
people even though the
black of my hair was
enough to hide the
steady reproduction of
my tiny little problems.
that’s how it feels to love
women. that’s how it
feels to swallow the
moon. it doesn’t feel
magical. it feels like
choking out instead of
down. it feels like every
day i have to hide, and
the nights are getting
hadi will take you to the moon.
September 18, 2021
“There is a triple sight in blindness keen”
-John Keats, “To Homer”
I want to go back to
That gazed on perfection
and its slightly fallen
miracle and its response
And that crowd of fishermen,
that, mining deep blue to eat,
must have nearly died when,
looking across the water,
they saw a man
trekking the waves
and pulling the blooming red.
Holly Wethey’s small pleasures include Shiba Inus, running into people she knows, and decaf vanilla chai.