poem by Agatha Beins


The doctor’s ears are
perfect: in color, in curve meeting

pale curve and I think, perhaps, they, too, could hold
the roaring seasound of my own blood.

When I made my appointment, the receptionist
called it The Woman’s Exam.  The student

worker who gave me forms to fill out called
it The Annual.  My sister

once received a disposable speculum from her doctor
and whispered to me, across

a linen tablecloth, across tiny flames
pulsing off silverware and refracting through glasses

of sparkling water, that it took only deep
breaths, a flashlight, and one shot

of tequila before she saw in a make-up
mirror the wet purple os

of her cervix.  As the doctor’s finger
tips displace the meat

of my breast in small circles, almost reaching
my clavicle, I feel

it is only fair that I touch
something of hers in exchange.  Her ears

make me want this.
The way they perch:  cartilage

and labyrinth.  If I just stretch
out my arm—