My body is a flag across the table.
I am spreading my legs because
this is what women do. My body
isn’t sure it wants to
carry this, but my body has been bleeding
for two months, a period of patriotism,
though my colors run.
From above, what you see are three women
in a room, two fully clothed, one in a paper
gown on a table. The one in a paper
gown is a flag, her feet in metal stirrups.
What she doesn’t know is tomorrow.
What she doesn’t know is how many of us
there are until we all show up.
A woman holds the device to slip inside me,
to stop the bleeding, to stop the babies,
to offer the progesterone my body
is refusing to make. My body is a flag woven
in the metaphysics of bleeding. How to sew
a perfect woman. How to hem
a menstrual flow. In my paper gown,
the doctor tells me there may be a little pain
for next four years,
while the nurse comforts—her hand
on my arm while another woman inserts
her hand, a speculum, the device,
inside me. My body is a ragged flag,
worn but still flying.