Body Scan at 41

October 2016

The more birthdays you have,
My dermatologist says, the more you’re going to see
The skin of me blooms like turning fruit.
I stand before him in my underwear,
Trying to keep the paper gown from falling off.
He lays another paper gown on the floor for me to stand on,
Chivalrous, I think, wakes up an old self
Who remembers the word special in reference to herself.
My other selves quickly tell her to go back to sleep
As he inspects my skin, dictating codes
To a young assistant who writes what he says in my chart.
He brings his little magnifying glass to the freckle above my left knee.
I tell him that’s always been there.
He interprets the freckle to the young assistant
In clinical language, what he finds doesn’t seem to concern him.
I’m given samples of a cream, told to avoid the sun.
Are you interested in our cosmetic services? No, I tell him.

In the bathroom, a poster asks,
“Are you a 1, a 2, or a 3?”
Near the 1, a woman’s face
One wrinkle between her eyes.
Beside the 2, two wrinkles.
The 3, three wrinkles.
In my car, listening to the news
I diagnose myself as a 5.
What lands between my eyes
Falls there like a boulder
Impacting once smooth water.