Check-up

Waiting, I stare up. Flat grey gulls painted on the ceiling tiles, watery marigold

sky and disappearing green. The dirty birds scour for fragments of pretzel,

dropped pieces of popcorn buried in the sand. The doctor holds

his grey face in his red hands, says It’s normal to cry. Don’t worry. All’s well.

I am excavated, a cigarette butt mistaken by the gulls for something good,

swollen-pouch eyes, c-section scar inflamed like diseased

gums. The doctor clicks his pen shut. Do you think you would

throw your baby out a window? Sneak away to Myrtle Beach? No. He’s pleased.

I’m not worried. He smiles. I smile, too. Because that is what I am supposed to do.

Two people smiling at the air in an empty room.


Bridget Bell is an instructor of English at Durham Technical Community College in North Carolina and a proofreader for Four Way Books, an independent literary press in Manhattan. She studied at Ohio University and Sarah Lawrence College, and her work has been published in The New Ohio Review, Folio, Eclectica, Zone 3, The Los Angeles Review Online, DIAGRAM and Eleven Eleven, among other literary journals.