My youth is the size of a ripe plum, a stillborn
duckling cut at the neck. In Exam Room 3, a stranger
is shoving his hand into me. My paper gown stops
mid-thigh. Relax, he says, and pushes through, searching
for the last golden egg, the prize that will end this hunt.
I stare at the photo of clouds taped to the ceiling. I can’t help
but see my mother, or a tumor the size of a grapefruit.
After my brother’s birth, she cleaned house. Put her parts
in a bag with the other dead things: the koi I shook
in the carnival bag, the kitten I loved, but starved. Her youth
was the size of a baby’s skull. I can hear her telling me
now: You’re grown. Shut it up. Cut it out.